Summary: Sermon 18 (and final) in a study in Colossians
“As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. 8 For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts;”
Have you ever spent a private, contemplative time thinking specifically about what kind of legacy you will leave behind when you pass from this world?
Within just a few weeks of the time I was to begin preparing this sermon I had the honor of presiding over the funeral service of a 95 year old woman who had passed on as a follower of Christ.
As I sat at the front of the chapel watching people come in and find a seat, I observed the wide range of ages and took note of family members as they greeted one another and so on. Here was a woman who left behind quite a legacy. There were four generations of people who would not have been there if she had never lived. I saw a large number of senior citizens, some with canes, some with oxygen tanks, one in a wheel chair, and I thought about how many friends and family she must have seen come and go before her, since she lived for 95 years in this world.
Just for the sake of perspective, she was born 4 days before the sinking of the Titanic. Just imagine the changes she saw in her lifetime! Two world wars, the development of the automobile and other forms of transportation from their infancy to what they are today, 17 United States Presidents.
As I listened to family members stand up and pay their respects I heard everything from a 10 year old great, great grandson saying he’d miss her toast and syrup, but that he was happy for her because now she is in Heaven and will have no more pain, to an adult grandson praising her for her exuberant approach to life and the good example she left for all of her children and their children.
What will your legacy be? If you try to run your life through your mind like a movie, or maybe a kind of slideshow of still pictures, what about you has influenced people around you? What will they say at your funeral? More importantly, what will they say in private after your funeral?
I can’t remember where I read this, but someone wrote, “If you think you are an important person just remember that 30 minutes after your funeral your friends and family will be cracking jokes over a casserole”.
The fact is we all leave some kind of a legacy, whether for good or bad. Some will affect and influence very few just because of the quiet and unassuming and un-noteworthy existence they led, but even they will leave something behind for a brief time in the mind and heart of someone.
And let me go on to say that this is really true for most of us. There are comparatively few really famous and well-known people who pass through this world.
Most of us will pass away and all the focus will be on and about us for a few days. But as time goes by the memories will fade and people will be involved in their everyday life, and those closest to us will think about us off and on, but by and large, we won’t be remembered or thought of at all after any length of time goes by.
One thing that has occurred to me is that when we know anything about people who have been long dead in history, they are usually remembered for one particular thing. One thing they did, one thing they represented, one thing about them that stood out.
Lou Gehrig – Baseball player who died of what is now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Amelia Earhart – female pilot who went missing
Alexander Fleming – discoverer of penicillin
Of course, more is written about these historical figures, entire biographies have been written about them. But if we know about them at all, those are the first things that come to mind when we hear their name. And for the most part, they are facts that come in most handy when watching Jeopardy or playing trivia games.
The truth is, this world is passing away and all those facts will pass away with it. None of it will be remembered in eternity; none of it will be pertinent.
The legacy that each of us leaves behind will either perish with the planet, or it will live on eternally because the way we lived and the impact we had was of an eternal value in that it impacted people for Christ.