Lets be honest: we all hope that by the end of our lives we have made an impact on those around us. Someday we want people to stand at our funerals, or memorial services, and remember good things about us. No one hopes to have negative or unflattering words said about them after they’re gone. That would be weird.
But as we grow up, our perspectives change. As adults, we should no longer simply hope that a bunch of people we knew in our lives show up to pay their respects at our funerals, as if this were some sort of numbers game. The person with most attendees at his or her funeral wins! That’s immature and the stuff that children think of. It’s greater than that. It’s bigger than death. It’s about life and how we lived it.
The other day I began to think about the legacy I am leaving as a husband, father and friend. Bottom line: I hope I leave a strong legacy. At the end of my days, I hope I lived the kind of life that echoes into future generations. Through failures and success, I’m learning, everyday, what being alive is all about. Not just living…being alive! I’ve screw this up a lot. Like every human-being, my brokenness sometimes clouds my view and I lose sight of what’s really important.
But, everyday I’m blessed with is a chance to grow. When my life is over, I don’t want a bunch of people to show up at my funeral just to show up. I hope my wife and children and friends and family, gather together and say this about me:
He Loved Extravagantly.
I want my wife to know that she was adored. I want my children to know that I cherished them and that they were the delight of my heart. I want my friends to know how deeply grateful I was for each of them. I wouldn’t want there to be any doubt in anyone’s mind or heart. I want to be the kind of person who loves without end. I don’t want my love for others to have a boundary. John Eldredge has one of the best quotes on this in his book, Wild At Heart. He says,
I want to love with much more abandon and stop waiting for others to love me first.
It’s up to me to love extravagantly! The way I choose to live everyday will be the determining factor.
He Served Passionately
I want to recklessly and fervently serve with all of my heart. I don’t care if I ever have a ton of money, or recognition, or prestige, or my name on a wall. I don’t really even care if people say that I was a lot of fun to hang around with, or that I was the life of the party. That would all be nice, but it means very little.
What I hope is that my life was lived in such a way that people felt taken care of and served. I want my wife to always know that her needs were more important than my own. I want my children to know, without a doubt, that dad would drop whatever he was doing to help them, at any time, if it were possible. I want those I lead to feel as though their leader served them, first and foremost, before I directed and guided.
He Gave Liberally
I recently saw a quote from Andy Stanley on Twitter that said this:
The value of a life is measured in terms of how much of it was given away.
That’s absolutely the truth! And I can only hope and pray that when my life is measured, at the end of my days, that it’s clear: I gave everything I had away. I want to live in complete surrender. It’s not easy though! I’m finding that it’s very hard, actually. It’s so easy to live your life with a clinched fist. The hardest thing in the world to do, sometimes, is live with an open hand. But as Dave Ramsey says, “When you live with a clinched fist, nothing gets out. But nothing can get in either.”
This is one of those posts I refer to as a “gut-check post.” I can type things like this all day long, but if it doesn’t play out in my life, it means nothing. Obviously, I’ve got work to do. The growth of my legacy does not happen out of wishful thinking. It only happens out of active living!
What do you want to be written on your gravestone someday?