I’ve been a Pastor for forty complete years last September ministering in one church or the other through the years. That means that I have officiated at many funerals. I also officiate for funeral homes and have done twenty-four so far this year. I always meet with the family privately before I begin to write the message for the service. In that meeting, I always learn what kind of legacy the deceased has really left behind for the family and friends. I never use that word in my questions, but it just naturally comes out from their comments. It can usually always be wrapped up in one word and try to base my approach on that legacy. I create very personable messages for the family.
What will be your legacy? How will you be remembered? What word would your family use over and over in their conversation that describes you and what you have left behind? It really is something to think about as we live our daily life. What is your legacy? What word?
For example, would it be “loving”? What is love? The Bible gives a very good definition of it that goes along way: “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV). Does that describe you? Will that be your legacy?
I recently read on a church sign, “How to win in relationships”. The answer was, “don’t keep score”. Perhaps that’s what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote “…it keeps no record of wrongs”. I think most people would say that being loving is more of a challenge for some than for others. I agree with that conclusion. Genetics have a lot to do with our disposition, personality and given traits from birth.
I can only look at myself to see how I have been naturally more like my mother than my dad. They were very different but excellent parents. I am very different than my brother and sister primarily because of genetics. Three kids can grow up in the same household environment and be very different. One can be very loving, and one find that more of a challenge.
But genetics does not have to determine the end result. People can decide how much they want to change or stick with the natural status quo in their life. It may be a challenge, but with God it is doable on this earth. How many people I’ve seen over the years change to be a better person to everyone around them. It is amazing, but it was always a process and not instantaneous,
If nothing else, we can remember the amazing transformation that takes place during the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. We are given the promise in I Corinthians 15:52 that, “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (NIV). We will have a new body and it will be imperishable at Christ’s return. And unlike our lives here on this earth, changing will not be a process, it will be instant. A legacy that is faithful to God will have that to look forward to at the end.
So, what will be your legacy? What word? Give it some thought today. And then, if you are brave enough, ask others if they agree. They may or may not tell you but their silence could be your answer.