What will you be remembered for?
We all have changes in our lives. We change jobs, houses, friends etc. In fact the only thing that is constant in life is change. What will you be remembered for in the weeks, months, and years that follow a change.
I have done many funerals and the part of the funeral that is always interesting is when family and friends share stories and memories of the deceased. Mostly they are stories of what this person meant to them, what they gave to them, the baton is passed on to the next generation. Some of the stories are humorous that tell you something of the person’s character. It hasn’t happened to me but another pastor once told me of the story of a funeral they took where nobody had anything good to say and someone actually came to the funeral just to make sure ‘the #@*^ was dead’.
I want to be remembered that I loved well. Sounds simple doesn’t it.
Nothing could be so difficult. In fact if you truly take this up as a life call then you will most likely be persecuted and potentially crucified.
How do we leave a legacy of love?
1. Follow a lover.
One of the memories of my Dad was that he was a man that loved. I also remember a game we played when I was little. I would stand on his feet and he would walk around with me holding on tight. I try to follow Jesus in a similar way. I read the Jesus stories and try and follow his footsteps. I suppose the ultimate act of love that Jesus gives us is that he gave up his life for us.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
The challenge is to hear what Jesus is calling you to lay down as an act of love for others. Fame, fortune, security? What would God be calling you to lay down or let go of for the sake of others?
2. Listen to a heart
I think the greatest love I have received personally is when people have sought out my heart. When they have inquired of my soul. There has been a listening that contained deep gentle questions. Loving curiosity not harsh intrusiveness. Connection where both feel gently warmed by each other.
The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich
3. Serve a need
The world is full of need isn’t it. So many issues, so much pain, don’t you feel overwhelmed at times! The good news is that you don’t have to be the solution to every problem!
Recently I listened to a message by Andy Stanley called ‘One, Not Everyone’ (highly recommended) where he discusses this issue. He has a little motto that he tells himself.
‘I will do for one what I wish I could do for all’ Andy Stanley
Limit yourself to what you can do, not hope to do. Focus on a small number of needs and do them well. What is the one or two needs that God is calling you to focus on.
Where there is great love there is always miracles. Willa Cather
Who has left a legacy of love to you? How did they do this?
Image by David Hayward