WRITING TO HONOR GOD
By Jamie Trisler
Thanksgiving Day 1988 was significant. My family was at my Grandpa Ross Aschraft’s home. I believe grandpa knew his days on the earth would soon be over because of what he had grown in his city garden that summer and was still visible in November, a row of cotton. When I asked him why he grew it he said, “I wanted to see it grow one more time!”
Our family gathered at the yellow shiny Formica and chrome table in his quaint kitchen for the traditional meal of turkey and dressing and all the delicious trimmings that go with it. Before eating we prayed, but what happened next was unexpected but monumental. Grandpa gave testimony of the many blessings he had received from the Lord including a family who loved him; his church; though retired, his job of 52 years at the rice mill; his friends and community. I am convinced that he was intentional in making the most out of the time he had with us that day. Through the years, as I have read some verses in the book of Psalms, I am often drawn back to that Thanksgiving and what Grandpa said. He was a devoted reader of the Bible and his life mirrored what he read. He would have been familiar with the importance of a generational vision and the necessity of speaking it to those gathered at his table that day.
“I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 89:1). Grandpa recognized the Lord’s faithfulness and wanted us to do the same.
Grandpa’s testimony set an example of acknowledging God with thanksgiving and praise with the expectation that we would follow it. “But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise” (Psalm 79:13).
Grandpa’s old age was evident that day: His hands often shook, his posture was slightly hunched, and his gray hair was thinning. He understood the desire of the Psalmist when he prayed, “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). He knew and wanted the generations at his table to know that God is powerful and mighty and that they are to look to Him for everything.
Included that day were four generations. The youngest generation included three great-grandchildren who were toddlers. I believe Psalm 22:30-31 captured grandpa’s intent for his future generations: “Posterity [Offspring] shall serve him [God]; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.” My prayer is that I will be faithful to tell of the Lord to the future generations as Grandpa did.
Unknown to us it would be our last time to be with Grandpa for he would die six weeks later. He was on a mission that Thanksgiving Day to “Tell the Generations about the Lord!” I am so thankful for the many blessings the Lord has bestowed on me including my grandpa and the legacy he left me.