Several of our church family members have lost loved ones in the last several weeks, and our hearts and prayers certainly go out for them. We know that we do not live forever in this world, and that all humanity “is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Though we mourn the loss of their presence here with us, for people of faith, “we do not grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).
It is therefore all the more important that we consider how we live, and what kind of heritage and impact we leave behind. The time to think about that is not when we are close to death; rather it is right now, today, as we live each day.
One of those in our church family who has experienced all of these feelings is Ed Harless. Ed’s mother, Lady Claire Harless, passed away this week at the age of 98 after a lifetime of faith in Christ. Most are unaware of Ed’s family’s connection with Lipscomb University in Nashville, going all the way back to David Lipscomb himself. I asked Ed to share some of this family history with me for this article.
Ed’s grandmother, Louise Lipscomb Neely, moved to Mississippi with her husband. When Ed’s grandfather died unexpectedly in 1917, his grandmother moved back to Nashville with seven daughters where she taught and served as librarian at David Lipscomb Elementary School for about five years. Two of Ed’s grandmother’s brothers, Horace and A. B. Lipscomb, served as presidents of David Lipscomb College during the 1920s. Ed’s great-grandfather, Granville Lipscomb, and David Lipscomb, were half-brothers. The two brothers owned adjoining farms which are now part of Lipscomb University. A few years ago Ed’s mother and his aunt were honored as the closest living relatives of David Lipscomb by Lipscomb President Randy Lowry at the opening convocation of the school.
David Lipscomb (1831-1917) was a key figure in the Restoration Movement. He was educated by Tolbert Fanning at Franklin College, and was the editor of the Gospel Advocate for 46 years. David Lipscomb was the founder of Nashville Bible College, now Lipscomb University. Our Amy Cannon recently graduated from Lipscomb, and Kelsey Shipman is a current student there.
The apostle John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4) Is that not what each of us would also say to be our greatest joy? And just exactly how might that come about? Everyone of course is responsible for their own walk with God. But what kind of impact are you having on those around you, including your children and grandchildren? What kind of heritage of faith are you building?