Recently I finished reading the autobiography of my Opa Bredenhof. About 15 years ago my grandfather wrote the story of his life. I have read that book a number of times in the last few years. I enjoy it more every time. He was born in Holland in 1922. He worked on various farms and joined the underground army in WW2. After the war he was in the police force for awhile, till he decided to move to Canada. He first lived in Alberta and then moved on to live the rest of his life in BC. It has been just over five years since he died, so I wanted to share what I learned from reading the story of God's dealing with my Opa.
1- My Opa was a man of courage. As a soldier in the underground army in Holland, he had a very dangerous job. Death stared him in the face many a time. Yet he continue to work and fight to give liberty to his country. He showed great courage during his years as a police officer, dealing with many dangerous people and situations. His courage comes out in his decision to come to Canada. Throughout his life, I saw this quality in my Opa. He had the courage to do what was right even when many others objected. He knew the dangers, yet continued on trusting in God. I need this quality. We all need this virtue. We need brave men; men who can face dangers and uncertainties and bravely go forward.
2- My Opa had a good work ethic. He worked long hours throughout most of his life. He studied for long hours to obtain the knowledge to be good at his trade. He started out in Canada working for farmers as little more than a slave. Yet at the end of his work years, He owned a large farm which continues on today. This was done by years of back breaking work. Long hours were put in year after year just to put food on the table. Through hard work, courage, wise planning, and God's blessing he became a wealthy man. His hard work has benefited his children and grand-children. We stand on his shoulders. We have so much. We work a lot less than he did. We have it quite easy compared to his days. We owe some of this to the hard work of our grandfather. We have a duty before God to use the wealth and time we have to promote the cause of Christ in the world. It would be very sad for us to waste our money and position that was so hard won by my Opa. I am thankful to God for what He has given me through my Opa. I am also motivated to use my time well like my Opa did and to not be reluctant to work hard.
3- My Opa was a man of faith. In his book, he continually mentions that his trust was in God. The book's title is called "By Grace Alone" which says a lot about how he lived. Often he says that to God alone be the glory. It brought him great joy to see his children and grandchildren walking in the truth. His joy was the same as John who said that " I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." 3 John 4
Opa gave a lot of time as a school board member to set up a Christian school. He often served as a deacon and elder in the church. He was on the mission board to help work in Korea and Brazil. He often encourage his grandchildren to consider the work of a pastor or missionary. Opa said that the greatest thing in life was a God fearing life. His life proves his words.
He had his faults, but reading the story of Opa's life motivates me to walk in truth and godliness; to leave an example that others can follow. I want to be able to say as Paul did, follow me as I follow Christ. Wealth and a good name last for a short time, but what is done for the glory of God lasts forever. We exist to bring worship to God. This is the end we should seek in all areas of our lives.