o ever live for Jesus

"My dear dear boys,

The dear Lord may call me at any time; how sweet it will be to be with Jesus. He has sweetened the tomb so death is robbed of its terror. My heart's desire and prayer for each of you is that you may ever live for Jesus. That your chief aim and desire in every action may be to glorify God. O ever live for Jesus, that He may always use you for His glory, in bringing lost men to the cross, in the extension of His Kingdom. at last may we all be gathered around His throne, an unbroken family, to praise His name forever."

-written by my great-great grandmother, Corra Alice Berry Leavell - to her nine sons on her deathbed.

I was looking through some pictures today and ran across a picture I took of this letter, now preserved in the Leavell Legacy room at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I've heard my mom and grandmother speak of this letter on so many occasions, but haven't ever sat down to think about the power and intent of these words. Of those nine boys, eight were in full-time ministry; one was a seminary president, one a medical missionary to China, one the pastor of First Baptist Houston, one founded the Baptist Student Union, one was a Christian educator (author of children's books), two were in Southen Baptist work, and my great-grandfather (Leonard O. Leavell) was a pastor. They left a true legacy and heritage to those who have followed after them.

my great-great grandmother must have been a very proud mother to see her nine sons accomplish such incredible work, but she knew where it all came from. she was known as a woman who dedicated her life and her family to the Lord, and she spent hours daily in her prayer closet. she was a woman who loved the Lord with all of her heart, and that is so evident to me as I read this letter. her aim and priority was to expand the kingdom of God and to give her boys back to him. she truly was an extraordinary person through whom God chose to do extraordinary things. it was her prayers that fueled her sons to seek God as they did, and live their lives in such a way that they impacted others for Jesus Christ.

oh, to be found faithful of the same. I want to ever live for Jesus so that He is reflected and glorified in everything that I say and do. I look forward to gathering around the throne, as a part of this unbroken family, to praise the name of Jesus one day. what a legacy.


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