This is what a legacy looks like:

This is a picture of a man named Alger Monson (right-center, glasses and burgundy button-down shirt) and his family: four children, their spouses, and their combined children, 13 cousins in all. This photo was taken in the late 1980’s. Today, the cousins are all grown up and married, the majority (if not all) of them walking with the Lord and many of them in full-time ministry throughout North America.

My youth pastor became their youth pastor at their church in a small town in rural Wisconsin, which is where I first met the family. At least a half-dozen of the extended Monson clan then became youth leaders, camp staff, or interns with me in various ministries in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The children and grandchildren are now scattered around the country and even around the world, but all of them hopped the first plane back home when they heard Alger had taken ill. Late Wednesday night, Alger Monson passed from this life to eternity, having finished the race set before him as a devoted father, husband, grandfather, and follower of Christ. He was 82.

You’ve probably never heard of Alger. He wasn’t a famous blogger, speaker, pastor or author. He didn’t lead a mega-church or start a well-known ministry. But it is not an exaggeration to say that together over the years, Alger, his wife, his children, grandchildren and their spouses have impacted thousands of people for Christ. All because one man determined to faithfully follow God, and to teach his family to do the same.

No, you’ve probably never heard of Alger Monson. But one day in heaven you will meet plenty of people who have, and who are there because of his influence. That is what a legacy looks like.

4 thoughts on “Legacy

  1. Carol Younkin says:

    This is a great example of what it is like to leave a legacy. All too often it is easy to be discouraged and feel as if we have nothing to show for our lives. We think being important, or famous is what life is all about. We should never lose sight if the fact that Jesus did not use the rich and famous to make a difference.

    It seems that Mr. Monson invested wisely in his family-and what a harvest he has sewn!Thanks for sharing and reminding all of us that we can be used to make an impact in ways we often do not consider.

  2. Maribeth Hagley says:

    Angie, well spoken of my grandpa. He was a man of faith and we all knew that his life spoke love and service to so many people. The stories have been priceless over the last few days recalling his love for all of us. Glad you knew Grandpa Alger, he is missed. You probably aren’t mistaken that thousands have been touched because of his legacy.

  3. Joey Monson-Lillie says:

    Angie, thank you for this beautiful tribute to our precious father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

    Something that my mom and dad have both reminded me of is this: Each morning, my dairy farmer grandpa would wake up early in the morning–around 3:30 AM–and would sit there, in prayer and reading his Bible. Each and every morning. My grandpa wasn’t anything special on his own, just like none of us are special on our own. But he immersed himself in The Word each day, and God transformed him, as He promises He will. My grandfather exhibited each one of the fruits of the spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control…and he did so through the transforming power and promises of his Savior.

    He was the most humble man I’ve ever known, and he would want all to know that each one of us can leave this kind of legacy, if we only seek The One who created us, and trust in His promises.

    I’d be lying if I said that I was anything close to what my grandfather was. I struggle with earthly things and selfish desires, but I can tell you this: My grandfather’s life has spurred me on to look to God’s Promises daily–not simply to be a better person–but so that I can grow the same fruits that Grandpa Alger did…and leave a legacy of my own that will hopefully touch and inspire others to do the same.

    God bless you in your ministry, Angie.

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