A Firm Foundation ..and some geneology

Near Grantsville, Md. is a pioneer village of log homes built by early white settlers. One of the houses was built by Benedict Miller, Lydia's great-great-great grandfather. Here is how the house is described in The Spruce Forest Artisan Village brochure:

“Built by Benedict Miller, Amish Bishop, and his son Joel B., in 1835 near what is now Springs, PA. the Miller House was moved to this campus in 1986 and restored in 1987.

The home, furnished with Miller family treasures, provides a context for the accounts of Benedict’s benevolence, as well as the story of the spiritual and social foundations of this mountain community, known as Brothers’ Valley. The Amish way of peace allowed the white settlers to build communities along side the Shawnee and other Indian nations. The Miller house served a triple purpose: a home, a place of worship, and the first school in the area. Always open to the needy and to the traveler, Miller’s homestead stood for charity, good works, and faith.

The Miller House is one of the finest examples of early craftsmanship in the area. A close look reveals carved beading and joinery common to the finely crafted log homes of the mid 19th century.”

What the brochure doesn't mention is that the log houses were moved to the village by taking them apart log by log, numbering each log, loading them on semis, and then rebuilding them at the village as close to original as possible. But not Benedict’s house. His house was so solidly built and so well preserved that they were able to lift the structure in its entirety onto a flat bed trailer and haul it in one piece to the village. The only changes were to replace the main oak beam under the second floor, and the roof.

My sermon at Little Eden Camp yesterday was “Foundations.” From I Cor. 3-“... I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and others are building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. ...[...a man's] work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. ...the fire will test the quality of each man's work.”

Benedict's work was shown for what is was by the test of time. His work was obviously high quality. After raising several generations of his family in this house, it was able to withstand the earthquake of a four mile semi ride 151 years (!) after it was built.

He built not only solid buildings, Benedict built a solid life. He was a builder, a preacher, a teacher, a 'mayor' of sorts, a leader in the community, a friend to all. When he learned in 1830 that an Amish boy, Wilhelm Bender, was an indentured servant [that is: slave] near Baltimore, he rode his horse the 190 miles and paid the farmer the remaining several year's wages to “redeem” him. As they rode together back into Springs, Pa. his daughter was heard to say, “Maybe he will be a husband for one of us.” She was right. He later married her! Wilhelm is Lydia's great-great-grandfather.

Benedict once noticed that his corn was being stolen, so he set up a trap. One morning he heard someone calling for help. A man was caught in his trap. “Can you help me out?” “Are you caught?” was Benedict’s innocent question. “Yes.” “I'll help you out on one condition,” was Benedict’s reply. “You must eat breakfast with us.” “But I'm not hungry.” “Well, that's the only way I'll help you out.” The man ate breakfast with the Miller's and no one mentioned a word about the incident. As he left, Benedict gave him a bag of corn.

Story after story reveal that this ancestor built solid buildings, solid relationships and a solid life. A huge percentage of his descendants are “solid.” My wife is exhibit “A.” There's more, but here's my point: Make sure you have a good foundation. Live a life for Christ. Will your “house” been in good shape in 151 years? In 1000 years? In a million years?

“No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 3:11

Your ancestors are rooting for you.

Common Ground Ministries

John was singing in a country western band at the time of his conversion in 1972. God changed his desire for stardom in Nashville to minitstry.

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