What are those things we truly leave behind after our time on earth has ended? I know it’s a somber thought to think about dying, but as many have advised, writing our obituary can be a healthy enterprise and opportunity to glean into our hearts – to remove the clutter in our lives. To better identify and clarify those things we care most about. To consider what we desire our life to be about. What we truly leave behind:
Reputations: My mother told me repeatedly growing up that my first name is different and because of that, I have an opportunity to make it a name that is remembered well, or remembered poorly based upon the the choices I make and the reputation I build. This has stuck with me and although I stumbled many times in building a credible reputation and name, my desire has always been to make my name and my family proud. However, I now realize the greatest way to accomplish this is not working to construct something for myself, but rather living each day surrendered to Christ (Proverbs 22:1). To glorify His name and allow His life to define mine.
Possessions: We all have stuff and will leave behind stuff. So, our stuff does matter, but not so much how much we have. Instead, how well do we steward what we have (Luke 16:10)? Some may have a lot, some a little, but all of us can become better managers of what we have and help those who will come after us learn to steward the things they have and the things they will inherit from us well. So, how much we leave behind isn’t the questions, but how well we manage it, provide for those entrusted to our care and disciple them to realize life is more than a race to acquire.
Preparations: I have seen many families suffer due to one person’s failure to prepare for the present and the future. Often times the person who failed to prepare for emergencies and future needs wasn’t a bad person. In fact, they were often good and well intended, but were never trained, or proactive enough to make the necessary plans required to best protect and provide for the needs of their loved ones once they were gone. Therefore, our preparProverbs 24:27)e .ations, or lack of preparations are also something we leave behind. How well we have trained and taught others to work, spend, save, borrow, serve, contribute, disciple and do all the things encompassing a responsible life is essential. However, all these lessons require intentional learning and teaching. Therefore, they can often be missed when one generation fails to learn the skills necessary to be applied, much less taught. This then is our first step in leaving behind quality preparations – avoid procrastination and begin application (
Application: “Inheritance Matters” – Ephesians 5:15-17
Our life matters and so do all those things we will leave behind. True, we will leave stuff behind and proper estate planning can help with this. Having a will, medical directive, savings, perhaps insurance and a trust and an overall financial plan all go along with that, but so do our behaviors and our priorities. What kind of reputation are we leaving behind and how involved are we in discipling others in those areas that will truly last for generations, long past the stuff? For those things eventually fade, but legacies build upon the foundation of Christ last forever.