The Marks of a Man: Habits of my Grandfathers

I have three grandfathers. Two had no choice in the matter because I was offspring, and the third would have stopped his granddaughter from marrying me had he realized I was from a John Deere family. Two have passed away, and one continues strong. I have great respect for each of them because they have finished, or are finishing, strong. That is not as much of a statement about them, as it is about their Savior.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb 13:7-8).

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come (Psalm 71:18).

The same Jesus who has kept my grandfathers is the Jesus who will keep me.



As I consider their way of life, I see traits that they developed through the working of the Spirit of God. It would be difficult to list all their godly habits, and there are many that are not included on this list, primarily because I can’t handle drinking apple cider vinegar everyday, or tucking my pant legs into my socks when I am working in the yard. But those listed are the ones which continue to impact me.

My grandfathers sang. I have followed my Grandpa Jack around the yard as he hummed his personal soundtrack from before the time playlists were even invented. I have cringed as they sang robustly, caring not what their voice sounded like, but that it was heard.

My grandfathers drank tea or coffee with friends. I have sat with them in quaint cafes, across the campfire, or at their dinner table drinking from a steaming mug. I have seen them all sitting with their friends, drinking something warm, and talking.

My grandfathers laughed out loud. I have felt the joy that could not be contained. I have cried from laughter as they told stories of their blunders, my blunders, or just the humor spun through the tapestry of our universe.

My grandfathers read books. I have held the worn volumes of Louis L’Amour and Matthew Henry. I have read the highlights and notes in the biography of a king, president, or missionary.

My grandfathers kept a record of what God was doing in their lives. I have deciphered the scrawl of a 90 year old man as he penned his thoughts. I have leafed through a pile of stashed church bulletins and written sermons. I have read of the covenant-keeping God remaining faithful to an old man.

My grandfathers enjoyed the outdoors. I have walked behind the men who once carried me on their shoulders. I have sat in rafts, hiked the trails, and slept in snow beside my grandfathers. I have learned to stand beneath the expanse of the heavens and relish the feeling of insignificance married to love in the presence of the Father.

My grandfathers read the Bible. I have seen them read. I have held their Bibles. I have heard them quote the passages that they had memorized. I have sat and watched as they stood and told others about their great God.

My grandfathers prayed in my presence and in secret. I have bowed my head before the meal, or the trip, or the game, and heard them pray to their Maker that he would be glorified in what we were about to do. I have seen the effects of their daily prayers on my behalf.

My grandfathers never stopped loving the church. I have sat beside them, behind them, and before them as they attended, participated, and preached in churches. I have inherited the belief that there is no hobby, event, or illness that can keep one away from the church for long. I have talked with those upon whom the love of Christ flowed through my grandfathers.

My grandfathers sacrificed for what they believed in. I have listened to the voices of others as they recount the major difficulties, crisis points, and agonizing seasons in the lives of my forefathers. I have looked at the pictures of the times now past, the dreams now gone, and the loves now lost. I have recognized that the simple fact of me hearing these stories is proof that they did not abandon what they believed in – their God, their family, their work.

My grandfathers loved Jesus. He has kept them.