Do you want to live forever? As mortals, we know this is impossible, but something that’s fun to think about for a while. Some people do seem to keep living on long after they’re gone, because they’ve reached “legendary status”, so to speak. We remember them because of what they did, said, who they were, or what they stood for, whether it was good or bad.
Do you remember a show from the 80s called “FAME”, with the song to match? As a girl from that era, I can still hear the lyrics in my head. “Fame! I wanna live forever. Light up the sky with my name.” Deep down I think it’s something we all want, to be remembered. Have you ever wondered what you will be remembered for? I heard someone say once. “What do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Then begin living that way.” Great point! If we live with the end in mind, then maybe we will make better choices.
A few of us from the office attended a funeral recently for a wonderful man and board member, Pastor Arnold Voth. I can say he was wonderful because I knew him by the things we all talked about, but also from what others had said about him. It was the testimony of many who knew him that got me thinking about all this. They spoke of his love for Jesus and how his life demonstrated it. His children mentioned how he used every opportunity to share why Jesus came and that conversations often ended up being about God. Then they expressed how much they loved his ability to do that. I thought to myself, “Wow! Now that’s a legacy that I want.” To inspire others in their faith.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
His fellow pastor friend summed it up when he heard Arnold one day say out of the blue, “Jesus lives, Jesus lives, eternity”. He knew where he was going, and he lived that way. I want that kind of legacy too! One that points to the One who gave me life and healed my heart. What good does it do for people to remember me? I’d much rather pass on the name of the One from whom all life comes, so that those who hear and receive it would pass it on too. It is much more beneficial to remember the witness of Jesus working in my life, than my name. What better inheritance can we leave for our family, friends and the people we meet, like Pastor Arnold? A legacy that will live on long after we are gone, to bring hope and everlasting life to the hearer.
Jesus left us a legacy of love; living each moment for those He came to help. He prayed for us to love one another. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:20-25
Cultivate your relationship with the Lord. Allow the truth of His word to soak down deep into your heart and minister to your spirit. It is the only way to live the life of love that the Lord commands. ‘“Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is . . . ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”’ Mark 12:28
What would the world look like if we did that? That’s a legacy worth building.