A Legacy

God help you and I to live thoughtfully in the light of eternity -- so that we leave a legacy of blessing, not of harm.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 5:24-25


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, sir, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you, to share from the Word of God. I look forward to these times, when we can share God’s Word, and the Truths within it, and where, by His help, perhaps I can put a handle on it, so that you can get hold of it for yourself. This is what I ask the Lord to do each time I face these microphones. I look at them, not as machinery, but I think of this process of broadcasting, as talking with precious people whom I know and whom I visualize as I’m speaking.

We’re just about through with the fifth chapter of First Timothy, 24 and 25; these two verses take up some of our time today. Paul says, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgement, and some, they follow after. Likewise, also, the good works of some are manifest beforehand, and they that are otherwise, cannot be hid.” Now, he’s talking about the way we deal with people. He said, “Take care of your relationship with elders, younger men, older women, younger women, widows. People who labor in the Gospel, the elders that rule, should be counted worthy of double honor. People who are openly sinning should be openly rebuked, that others may take notice and fear. Don’t be partial to other people. Observe these things without partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man. Neither be partaker of other men’s sins, your relationship with other people’s ministries, and other people’s failings.” He said, “You keep yourself pure.” And then he said, “Take care of your body.”

All of these things he’s been talking about, that has to do with our relationship with people in our ministry. Then he said, “Remember to observe how sin works and how good things work.” We tend to forget that. There is a way that sin works and there’s a way that good works operate as well. You wanna think about that with me for a moment? Remember now, this is in the context of your ministry, not just a philosophical discussion, but it has to do with the way things work when you’re dealing with people and precious, never dying souls. He said, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, and some, they follow after.” The point being, in either case, you can’t hide them. The Lord Jesus said there was no markup in hypocrisy, “Beware,” said He, “Of the leaven,” that’s our word ‘yeast,’ “Yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, because what you’ve whispered in the ear will be shouted from the housetops. You can’t keep a secret and there isn’t any percentage in it, there’s no markup in it, there’s no future in it. You can’t keep it secret, so watch out for it.” Jesus said that. The wise man said in the Old Testament, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.”

Again, the way of the transgressor is hard. And you find in Numbers 32, verse 23, where Moses was speaking to the children of Israel, regarding their duty in subduing this new land, and in keeping their own life free from compromise, notice what he said. I’m turning the pages of my big Bible here, to get over to Numbers 32 and verse 23. He said, “If you will do this thing, and will go, all of you, over Jordan before the Lord, until He hath driven out His enemies from before Him, and the land be subdued before the Lord, then afterward, ye shall return, and be guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. But if you will not do so, then,” he says, “You’ve sinned against the Lord and be sure your sin will find you out.” See?

He said, “If you’re not willing to follow through with the will of God, it’s gonna catch up with you.” That’s what Moses said to his people in his day. The whole thrust of Scripture is, “You simply cannot get away with sin.” There was an illustration of that truth, that was provided some years ago, in the matter of a great earthquake that seemed to center around the Los Angeles and Long Beach area. It happened at a time when, happily enough, there were no children in the school buildings. But those who were reporting on the quake noticed that there wasn’t so terribly much destruction, except in certain school buildings, that simply crumpled under the force of this earthquake.

And so they began to inquire, “Why was it that, whereas other buildings, office buildings, and other structures didn’t fall down, these buildings simply crumpled under the force of the earthquake?” And when they inquired, they found that all those buildings had been built by the same contractor, some years previous. And they told me that, as they looked into the matter, they found that this contractor had routinely skimped on certain materials, and certain procedures, that would have made the buildings earthquake resistant, at least, if not earthquake proof. You see, he got away with it, and got paid, and the years went by, until the earthquake showed him up as having cheated on his work. Be sure, your sin will find you out.

Billy Graham told in my hearing a story, which I surmise, may very well have happened to him, although he didn’t say so. But he said, “There was this little farm boy.”( Billy was brought up on a farm.) He said, “There was this farm boy, who was told by his father, ‘Now, son, I’m going to town and there’s one thing I wanna tell you. Stay out of the watermelon patch, because those melons aren’t ripe. You stay out. Just go ahead, and do your work, and I’ll be back.’

Well, saying, ‘Don’t,’ to a boy, as you know, is like saying, ‘Sick ’em,’ to a dog. And as soon as his father was out of sight, on the way to town, this farm boy climbed the fence over into the watermelon patch. And lo and behold, he found a melon that was just perfectly ripe.” You know how you test a watermelon for ripeness, don’t you? You thunk it with your middle finger and, if it’s ripe, it gives off kind of a low A flat burp. You have to learn to thunk the melon just right. [chuckle] “And so he found this melon that was dead ripe, and he picked it.”

“Over the fence he went and on out into the back pasture, way out back by the creek. And there he broke the melon open, and buried his face in that succulent, sweet watermelon heart, and ate to his fill. Well, when he was finished, he had to do away with the evidence. And so he dug a shallow grave there by the creek, and buried the watermelon rind, and all the seeds, and everything. Buried them up, and then took some dead leaves, and carefully covered over that patch of Earth, so that it looked just like all the rest of the ground around, and went his way.

His father came back and found the little boy smiling, looking like an angel. Some weeks went by… ” And our Brother Graham said that, in this story, which as I say, I surmise, may very well have happened to him, “The family cow strayed away, and his father went to look for it, and found the cow way out in the back pasture, way as far as could get in this farm area. He was bringing the cow back, when as he was walking along the creek bank, he saw this strange sight of little green shootlets coming up in a clump and said to himself, ‘Now, that’s strange. I wonder what that is?’ He went over there, and kicked the ground aside, and found the remains of the stolen watermelon, and he knew, of course, what had happened.”

I guess the result was that the board of education was applied to the seat of knowledge. In any case, the evidence showed up. Your sin will find you out. Yeah. “Some men’s sins are open before Him, going before to judgement.” There are some failings that you can identify, but what you do try to hide shows up anyway, some, they follow after. And I think one of the saddest things is, to realize that, when we do wrong, we leave a legacy of ill and harm to those that have to deal with our memory. It’s a pity, isn’t it? The widow that discovers after her husband has died, that he has squandered all of his means, and that she is left penniless, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. After a person’s gone, the results of shortcomings, and sins, and failings are still there. And Paul was reminding Timothy, he says, “Look, remember what you do has a longer lifespan that you have.” That’s what he’s saying. “What you do has a longer life expectancy than you have. It’s gonna last after you’re gone.” Oh, may God help you and me, as He helped young Timothy to live thoughtfully in the light of eternity, so that we leave a legacy of blessing, not of harm.

Well, then Paul goes on to say, “Likewise, also, the good works of some are manifest beforehand, they that are, otherwise, cannot be hid.” Now, when you’re doing something good, sometimes it’s evident. As a matter of fact, here’s a small thought I’ll just throw in free. You don’t have to advertise the fact, when you’re doing something thoughtful. You come to somebody and say, “I spent my whole lunch hour to get this for you. I hope you appreciate it.” Well, man, you’ve spoiled it right there. You don’t have to advertise your good deeds. They’re pretty evident. But he says, “Even though nobody knows about it now,” he says, “It can’t be hid. It’ll show up. It’ll show up.” Years ago, when Youth For Christ was just beginning, this would be back in the early 1940s, I suppose, there was a man named Willis Schenck, who was in charge of Youth For Christ. I believe it was in Seattle, Washington. He was an energetic, and most highly gifted young man, and loved God, and went for souls. He was a real soul winner. I admired him so very much.

Well, his work went on, and he was winning the young people to the Lord out there, and then channeling them into the Bible-preaching Christ-honoring church of their choice. And he sent a message to our brother, Torrey Johnson, who was president of Youth for Christ in those days, and said, “Torrey, I’ve got a request from people up in Anchorage to get Youth for Christ started up there. What do you think?” And Torrey said, “Go ahead. If you can raise the car fare, go.” And so he made a number of trips to Alaska in starting Youth for Christ. And on one of these trips, the airplane in which he was riding crashed, and all aboard were killed. They found his body later on, there on the snowy mountainside, still strapped to his chair, and his Bible, and his songbook were just a few feet away from him, there on the side of the mountain. He’d gone to Heaven worshipping and singing.

Well, at his funeral, people were amazed at who came. There was someone in a wheelchair, who cried as he paused by the casket and said, “He got me this wheelchair.” And somebody else said, “He bought me this pair of crutches.” And somebody else said, “He got me a job.” And somebody else said, “He helped me to get well, by getting me in touch with the doctor.” This man had quietly been helping people, without anybody knowing it. But after he was gone, it showed up. Let’s be that kind of folks, shall we?

Dear Father, today, make us people whose good deeds live on, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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