One of the things about life is that we don’t make it out alive. Every person who is born is going to die.

So, while we tend to spend much time thinking about how we can spend our days, we should seriously consider what we will leave behind after we are gone.

Let me tell you about something that has been passed down through our family and use it as an illustration of something else that has been passed down that is much more valuable.

You saw the picture at the top of this blog post. It was a picture taken on Friday, Feb. 23, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal. If I understand it correctly, it was a powerful recreation of the initial flag raising on the island of Iwo Jima that had taken place a few days earlier. The purpose was to powerfully portray for the American people what our soldiers were doing halfway around the world.

According to the Pulitzer website: “Normally, the Pulitzer Prize Board considers journalism published in the previous calendar year for the prizes. It made an exception for Rosenthal’s picture, awarding it the 1945 prize for Photography a little over two months after it was taken.”

The picture is powerful and is still recognized by millions of Americans 73 years later.

But, the picture at the top of this post isn’t complete. I cropped out the bottom of the picture. So, let me now show you the whole picture…


The inscription says: “To John Keltie from Joe Rosenthal 1945” (there is an “A” and then something else after Joe Rosenthal’s name).

Grandpa and Grandma Keltie – 1944

So, who was John Keltie?

That was my Grandpa. He met Joe Rosenthal the year he took the Iwo Jima picture and was able to get a personally signed copy.

This heirloom is something that will be passed down through our family. It is one of the many keepsakes that will be cherished by many generations to come.

But, that picture will deteriorate. It will eventually wear out. It may even get lost or destroyed in an accident.

But, there is something much more valuable that my Grandparents passed down. It was a legacy of faith.

They were serious followers of the Lord and they demonstrated their loyalty to and love for their God each day of their life.

I couldn’t help but notice this as I spent much time with them. There are memories of their faithfulness that are etched in my mind that will go with me until the day I die … and nothing can take them away.

If you were to ask me which is more valuable, a pretty cool picture or a legacy of faith that is passed to the next generation, I would go with the second option without even pausing.

So, friend, what are you passing down to the generations after you? Sure, you may have some pretty cool items that the next generation may value. But they will eventually wear out. In fact, they may not be cherished by your descendants and may even get thrown away.

So, are you passing down something much more valuable? Are you passing down a legacy of faith in God to the next generations?

Friend, if no one else observes whether your faith is real, your children will. They see you behind closed doors. And then your children will raise your grandchildren. Determine to pass on a legacy of faith!

Then, you will be free to enjoy the truth that the Apostle John wrote about in Scripture:

3 John 4 (NLT) “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.”