Nearly 100 years ago Klaus Niewenhuis stood at the gates of Ellis Island, waiting to hear if his name would be called, allowing him to enter the United States as an immigrant. His brother stood on the other side of the gate and asked, “Klaus, if your name is not called will you still trust and believe in God?”

Klaus looked down at his left arm. It ended abruptly, right above the wrist, a couple of malformed fingers sticking out of the end. Only a few years earlier he stood on the same spot, his brother at his side. Then, his brother had been accepted as an immigrant, while Klaus had to make the long journey back to Holland after being denied entrance into the United States because of his deformed left arm.

While back in Holland, Klaus heard God tell him that if he went back to the United States, He would show him His Glory. It took some time to gather the funds, but soon he was able to let his brother know when he would be arriving back at Ellis Island.

“Yes, I will always trust in God,” Klaus answered his brother’s question. At that moment his name was called, and Klaus Niewenhuis became an immigrant to the United States.

Some years later, Klaus visited Niagara Falls and was overcome with its beauty and majesty. This, he believed, was the glory God wanted to show him.

But I believe differently. God used Klaus, who later changed his name to Clyde K. Newhouse, to father 5 children, one of whom was my father. While my grandfather was not perfect, he has a legacy of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren who know and serve God. I believe this is the glory that God wanted to show him.

Although my grandfather died many years ago, the legacy continues. In the Bible we are taught that God works through the generations. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And He is the God of my grandfather, my father and of me. He is also the God of my children, and should He tarry, the God of their children and grandchildren.

But that isn’t going to happen on its own. Deuteronomy 6 instructs us to teach our children to love God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their strength. And it tells us to do it with diligence, when we sit in the house, and when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up. It is a constant lifestyle of instruction.

I don’t know if my grandfather prayed for my children, but I pray for my children’s children, and for their children and grandchildren as well. Our prayer for our girls is that they would raise up godly families that in turn would raise up godly families; that our children’s children to the third and fourth generation would be the glory that God promised my grandfather nearly a century ago.

In a very real way, my legacy to my children began with my grandfather. But I am not really leaving a legacy to them, for my children are my legacy.