How one man’s funeral changed everything
The legacy of a hero
Recently, we mourned with dear friends the loss of one of their own. Gene was a giant in the faith. His life was marked by the relentless pursuit of God.
Thousands of people were connected to Christ through his direct ministry. Hundreds of thousands were influenced by the seeds he planted.
Gene was a true hero. An example of a successful life, a race (Philippians 3:14) finished well.
Throughout the service, I could not stop my tears. During a funeral, this might not be worth mentioning.
Except that, I didn’t know Gene. Everything I know about him, I learned during his funeral.
For me, this man brought to life what I believed in theory. Success on earth was Gene’s service to others. And his legacy will forever speak of him through the people he influenced.
His impact on those around him was his success. It’s the only success that matters in this world. It gives us satisfaction today and continues its work after we are long gone.
The great rulers of old, the adversaries of Peter and Paul, who cares about them today? Their former greatness ceased with their last breath.
Their riches and glory, it’s all gone with their soul. Their names are dead and their opportunities to use their wealth in a better way is forever gone.
They wanted their praises sung throughout all ages and yet today, their names are forgotten.
What did they accomplish with their lives? Whatever it was, Gene did far more.
The treasure of the end
Death is difficult. We are not made to process abrupt severances of deer relationships. Our minds can’t fathom it and our hearts can’t grasp the concept of death.
As individuals, we are confronted with the reality of our short, finite journey here on this earth. Living without God seems like a bliss until all hope is gone as the road to glory is in sight.
Society doesn’t offer any hope beyond our 80 years on earth. “Live your life as you please for fun is the purpose of our existence”.
Who could blame them? What else should you do as a random formation of atoms without any hope or purpose? Everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1).
Still, each day gone by adds words to eternity, either good or bad. We can’t change the past and we can only dream of the future. The only impact we have is now.
Now is what becomes the past and the past becomes our legacy. It is in the now that we have to make the choices that build what we leave behind.
God gave us the ability to plan our future. Things don’t go as expected but we can set a direction and pursue it relentlessly.
Love thy neighbor as yourself
We know that other people are the biggest source of joy in this world. Deep connections give us peace, balance, and perspective.
Loving others is, therefore, feeding into the greatest desire of the heart of man. The core of human beings is the same for all of us, no matter your culture, skin color and all the other surface fluff that seems to make us so different from one another.
Our greatest satisfaction will always come from loving others. It’s more than a connection between two people. It’s the elevation of someone else without tangible benefits to ourselves.
I hear the cry of battle
As warriors, we need something to fight for. We need a purpose to raise our voices for. What is burning in our hearts, the things we die for, are always greater than our own lives.
Incidentally, those things are rooted in others. Fighting for your country? You’re really fighting for your children, friends and families. Fighting for an agenda, conviction or cause? You’re really fighting for those who are impacted by it.
Every battle is connected to desires greater than ourselves. But along the way, we sometimes forget why we first signed up. Our heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).
Humanities greatest desire is God’s greatest commandment for his followers. Giving up is to gain. Living is to love. And his yoke is light (Matthew 11:30).