Yorktown Nat. Cemetery, Yorktown Battlefield, Va.
1 Timothy 6:11–12 (NKJV)
11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Presently in El Paso, Tx. starting an extended photo shoot through the Rockies with my brother. A superlong day of travel to get here (20 hours) but anticipation is high, particularly the anticipation of collapsing in bed just shortly. Hope to get some photos in the works tomorrow (Tuscon area - first photo stop)
This photo was from my recent trip to Williamsburg/Yorktown Battlefield. It was a very somber moment for me to look down on a long dead, very distant relative. He was from the "Northern" segment of my family who, doubtless because they kept their Dutch roots longer than the Southern segment, had not lost the original spelling of the last name. I wondered how old he was... and what were the chances that the Southerner who killed him might have been one of my relatives also. His name (James W.) goes back a long way in my family line and I have a nephew with that same first name and initial though I doubt the "W" in this man's name stood for "Willard." All in all, I found myself strangely moved.. a very definite sense of connection linked me to this man and my eyes got a bit misty.
Life in this world takes strange twists on occasion doesn't it? I wonder what some future relative might think looking down on my tombstone one day, if such is in the Lord's plans. I know this, that the battles each of us fight as we journey through this life have eternal consequences that link us all together. This relative died struggling for a great cause... and so, in the last analysis... will we all. We may not face hideous cannon fire but how we die is not as critically important as how we live prior to that event. I do not know if this man had saving faith. I hope he did. But this I know... that the words Paul spoke to Timothy apply to us today just as much as they applied to this man, assuming in his years he heard them... which is most highly probable.
We have a "good fight" to wage. We have to "lay hold" to eternal life in whatever relatively long or short period of time we have to heed the command. Our life can be cut short in a moment even as was his. Whatever task we have to do at the moment we must do with all our might, ever remembering that our labors are not in vain. But, and this is most important, the battles we fight are not to the end of purchasing our eternal life... that has been already done for us. The Savior who walks with us in our battles has purchased us our redemption, when we "lay hold" to eternal life, it is in "grasping" and "holding on" to that truth. It is the struggle of faith to make it "sure" and to discover how the Lord is daily reinforcing His Presence with us.
Tonight, as I go down, I will remember this stone once again and then I will cast my thoughts back, to that day long ago when my Savior, cleansed me once and forever of my sin with His very own blood, and then that following first Easter morning when He rose victorious to give me that eternal life which I will share with Him forever.
I hope I see James there, waiting for me one day. What a glorious story he would have to tell. And maybe, he would find my story interesting also. We would have a lot more in common than just our blood and name.