Summary: This message explores the God given desire to have a deep and lasting impact. Inspired by "The Seven Longings of the Human Heart" by Mike Bickle.
("DeathBed" - ReliantK Music Video)
The saying goes something like there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. And near the end of the year, as a middle aged pastor, I find myself pondering both.
This past year I preached Victor’s funeral, and then a few weeks later traveled to Kansas City for my Grandmother’s Memorial Service. Over the next year Jamie will become a teenager, Debbie and I will cross the 40 year old threshold, and the odds grow greater that we will say goodbye to at least one other family member as age catches up with them.
And it can get me thinking about a simple, but profound question. One that there is space to answer there on your teaching outline this morning: What do I want written on my tombstone? Or in a larger scope and sense, how do I want to be remembered? Take a moment, reflect on it, and jot it down there on your outline. What would you want written on your tombstone?
(Solicit responses and Connect to a desire to be remember – to leave a deep and lasting impact on the world and people around us.)
You see, here is a challenge I face.
As each day and week goes by doing. . .
- Ministry at Indiana Wesleyan’s Campus in Hamburg
- Driving my bus with Step-by-Step
- Giving hours to coaching and officiating Upward basketball
- Speaking to the University of South Carolina Basketball Team, or Beaumont FCA
- Taking a missions trip to Haiti
- Watching pastor friends move on to other churches in other states
- Even driving home from church on Sundays
I am constantly nagged by, and sometimes even haunted by the question– Did I make any difference? Did any of those efforts, those hours of investment and energy, that piece of my life that was poured into someone else’s life. Did it really make any difference?
(Read Ecclesiastes 1:2 through 11)
Does all the effort make any difference? And will anyone even remember what I did, how I lived my life, or who I was when I pass from my deathbed (re-read verse 11)?
- Reflection on teen year suicide attempts & reaching the Naval Academy
(Read Ecclesiastes 1:16-18)
I’m guessing I’m not alone. Maybe some of you are young enough that it merely gets a passing reflection, but I dare say as I venture through the congregation, and increase the years spent here on earth, the question gets asked more seriously, and more intensely: Will anyone even remember me? Because I believe that God has wired us with a longing to make a deep, significant, lasting impact.
Just listen to the commission that Jesus placed on the life of every believer, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but that is no small, piddly little task. Make disciples. Of ALL nations. Baptize them. That’s pretty heady stuff. That is eternal, lasting work. Something to be remembered for.
(Read Ecclesiastes 2:9-11)
Pastor Mike Bickle puts it this way, “We play a small but significant role in a very large drama, in a great conflict with eternal consequences.”