“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4, ESV)
It was one of those humbling … bring-you-down-to-earth … I get it … statements. As my wife and I were trying to get things packed up and ready for a move a number of years ago, our children who were adults were helping.
As we were going through a number of things in the garage, the question was posed, “Dad, are you saving all this stuff for us?” “Well, yes I am!” “Well, we don’t want it!” Talk about a cup of cold water to the face … it was more like a big bucket.
No, I didn’t get my feelings hurt, but it did cause me to think about some things and it is those things all of us as parents and even grandparents should consider! As a matter of fact, married or not, children or not … we will all be leaving some kind of legacy when we leave this world!
Now I understand that the passage at the top of this post pertains to those early Christians whom the Apostle John had a deep love and affection for. He was so happy to hear that they were living lives of integrity … that their conduct or manner of life was that of walking in truth! There was not a gap between their professing their faith and their living out that faith daily!
There is line or a dash that is chiseled into the grave marker between two dates and it is on that line … on that dash that we will have had the opportunity to walk humbly … be a good example … admit when we’ve done wrong … be strong … be courageous … be patient … be understanding … give our time and our attention … and our love! Not only to family, but to friends and brethren … and to those we work with or live near.
We don’t get a redo! Who among us wouldn’t like to have at least one redo? We are blessed by God with only so much time … and as the apostle Paul admonished the Ephesian brethren, “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16) … yes, my friends, we need to buy up every opportunity to be the very best we can be! We cannot go back in time, but we can start right where we are and moving forward … do so with the supreme desire to live our lives to the glory and praise of our great God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Consider the following poem written by Ken Gire in the context of what memories you will be leaving behind when you have departed from this life …
A Father’s Gift: The Legacy of Memories
What pictures will my son remember when he comes to the plain granite marker over his father’s grave?
What will my daughters remember? Or my wife?
I’ve resolved to give fewer lectures, to send fewer platitudes rolling their way, to give less criticism, to offer fewer opinions …
From now on, I’ll give them pictures they can live by. Pictures that can comfort them, encourage them, and keep them warm in my absence.
Because when I’m gone, there will only be silence. And memories …
Of all I could give to make their lives a little fuller, a little richer, a little more prepared for the journey ahead of them, nothing compares to the gift of remembrance. Pictures that show they are special, and that they are loved.
Pictures that will be there when I am not.
Pictures that have within them a redemption all their own.
—— Ken Gire
The stuff of this world is just that … stuff! It may be that when I am gone they will want this book or that picture, or whatever else … but what I truly want to leave behind for those I love is that I loved the Lord “with all of my heart, soul, and mind” and that it was always my fervent desire that they would make the same choice!
I ask my Lord every night when I go to bed to help me be a better example tomorrow … if He wills tomorrow for me … than I was today!
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.