What legacy are you building today?
What will be passed onto the next generation because you have lived?
I was at a funeral just recently of a man who walked with God his whole life. He was what I would call a SAGE of the faith, and there are not as many of them in Christendom as there should be. In fact I often called him “Gandalf” as he was tall and had white hair with a long white beard and was very wise. He was known in our community as GRANDPA, as a large part of our ministry is to hurting, dysfunctional families through a ministry called Southern Cross Kids Camp (SCKC) and Southern Cross Club (SCC). So all the children came to call him Grandpa. I have only known him for about 12 years and so when you go to someone’s funeral the rest of the story gets filled in.
I learned that what he gave to us all and the families in our community was how he lived his whole life. He had many paternal grandchildren ages ranging from 15-25 years old, and each of them wanted to speak at their Grandfather’s funeral. Through tears they told stories of a man that was always intentional about the time he gave them. He took them all on challenging and stretching adventures, and always had a story to tell that was grounded in His faith and walk with God.
His adult children shared similar stories and were incredibly thankful for the legacy that their father had left them with. They shared how this was not something that had been modeled by the previous generation and that their mother and father were creating something new in the family. As one of the sons finished, he said this week he had been asking himself “what do I do now?” He came to the answer, “to do what Dad did!” What a legacy to leave.
As we listened to the love and deep faith of this man, in the way he loved his wife, children and grandchildren, it was very moving. They spoke of the special role he played at Southern Cross Kids Camps and Southern Cross Club and how it meant so much to him to give to these children as well. Little did the family know that two of the children who had been at those camps, who are now youth, independently made their way to the funeral to be there to honor his life and say goodbye. The two walked up to Grandma (the man’s wife) and hugged her after the funeral and she was so touched that they had come. The boy said to her “I missed school for this, but the teachers and my parents understood that this was an important person in my life, so they let me come.”
Proverbs 13:22 say, “A good life gets passed onto the grandchildren” (MSG). Everything about us, says something about us. Nothing is wasted and time is short. A funeral has a way of reminding us that life is not to be wasted and to ask the question, ‘what will really matter when all is said and done?’ It will be the time, the adventures, the memories, the love, the way we lived our life that will be remembered and passed on. The things we stood for. The tears at this funeral were largely for the loss of not having him around anymore, not because of what he didn’t do, or of what he didn’t say, or of how he didn’t live or who he didn’t love. Not only was there the peace of knowing that he is in a better place, but a joy that we even knew him at all.
The number of people who said to me after the funeral, “If my grandchildren speak like that about me at my funeral I will be very happy”, was amazing. Christ was honored that day, Christ was honored in his life and he left a legacy that will last and bring hope to the next generation. I can only imagine Jesus saying to him in heaven “Welcome, well done good and faithful servant”.
What legacy are you building today? What will be passed onto the next generation because you have lived?