Arthur Gordon tells a story in Guideposts magazine about visiting one of the Zuni Communities in New Mexico where work was being done on a very old chapel.
“Your family goes back a long way in this county,” commented Gordon’s wife, Pam who was born in England. “Are there any family stories about Indians?”
Gordon proceeded to relate the story of his great-great Grandmother, Eleanor Lytle, and a Seneca chief named Cornplanter.
During the Revolutionary War, little Eleanor, age 9, was captured along with her mother and brother by a raiding party of Senecas. Soon, the brother and mother were ransomed. But Cornplanter refused to let Eleanor go. Instead, he adopted her as his sister. For 4 years she remained with the Indians who treated her with kindness and respect.
Finally, Cornplanter agreed to let her have a meeting with her parents. But made her promise to never leave him without his consent.
When the meeting took place near Fort Niagara, Eleanor, now 13, could not contain herself. She jumped from the canoe and flung herself into her mother’s arms. Watching this emotional scene unfold Cornplanter said, “The mother must have her child again. I will go back alone.”
Years later, in 1798, Eleanor married a frontiersman, John Kinzie, Gordon’s great-great-grandfather.
“So, you see, Arthur said to Pam, “if it weren’t for that act of unselfishness, I might not be here at all.”
Where you and I are today, is often the result of the unselfish acts of kindness, self-sacrifice, and moral virtue of those who’ve long since left this world. But have left us a wonderful legacy. Not just financially or materially, but even spiritually.
When you go to worship today, think of all those who’ve gone on before that’s made it possible for you to be where you are. Family, friends, preachers, pastors, and other committed Christians who have left you a heritage that continue to bless you and your family.
The Bible exhorts, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). Take a moment to give thanks for both known and unknown people in your past that’s made it possible for you to be where you are today.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman