The photographer captured the moment. Folks were gathered together in front of the last log cabin built in the Welsh Hills. Some of the individuals were standing, while others were seated on hardback chairs. None of subjects were smiling, as was typical in bygone generations. Even the family dog was present.

Each of the family members is forever captured on the print. The Williams family desired a portrait of all of them gathered together for this special event. Was it a birthday? A holiday? Was it after a funeral?

Unfortunately, we will never know. However, over 140 years ago, their family descendants are still curious about that moment. The people were my great-great-grandparents and their children. Each of them lived distinguished lives and left an impressive legacy.

Historical milestones have benefited from photography. Whether the events were happy celebrations or the heartache of a catastrophe, we are all transported in time to share that precise, historical moment. One often wonders what may have been if we were there. Could we have prevented the catastrophe? Would we have shouted with joy in the celebration? A good picture generates a lot of speculation and many “what ifs.”

It has been wisely said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The most dramatic pictures generate the greatest commentary. We make our judgments, form our perspectives and color the portrait in hues of our own points of view. It is interesting that these still moments in time can be imbedded in our memories for a lifetime.

There are an innumerable amount of moments in the course of a lifetime. Some photos are candid, without our knowledge or consent. The candid picture imprints the precise moment in time that cannot be erased, redone or denied. The evidence is undeniable. Many photographs are utilized in criminal cases to prosecute the offender.

There are moments when we pose for the camera. We desire to look our best, to stand close to the others in the photo and put on a big smile. One day this picture will be held in our hand and we will, and for a moment, recall the occasion. Pictures can bring a lot of sentimental feelings to our heart and mind. Aren’t you thankful for these precious moments?

As we consider our life, it will appear to be a collage of pictures, with hundreds of special events, milestones and defining moments. Memories captured with those who have passed away. Our mentors, teachers, best friends, our spouse and our parents and grandparents. Memories captured in the picture stir our hearts and grip our souls.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to step back in time and relive that moment?

As we reflect upon our spiritual life, we understand we will one day stand before Almighty God and give an account. Were their moments in our life that we served God? Where there moments where we share the love of God with needy souls? Did we teach a Sunday school class, help in Vacation Bible School or volunteered at a charity? Did we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, house the homeless or visit a man in prison? Did we give our time, talent and treasure for the gospel?

Our lives are filled with moments — moments that build a lifetime. Let us focus on pictures taken today. The significant milestones that contribute to a better community, a better world and the benevolence toward our fellow man. Let the snapshot be taken of our hand reaching out and touching somebody. Let the pictures tell the story of a life well lived, for the glory of God.

Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon Shonebarger at

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