I recently journeyed back to my “early” town in order to help lay my grandmother to rest. When it came time to make the arrangements, it was discovered that she had done much thinking about her death–and much preparation. She did not want to be a burden on anyone, even in her death. She was a remarkable woman.
I read over the 24 chapter of Joshua today after reading a blog post by a person I used to know. You can read his post here. Probably one of the more thought provoking posts I’ve read in the past few weeks, of the many blogs I try to keep up with.
Three verses in Joshua 24 sum up the end of Joshua’s life. I believe they are worth looking at here:
After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old. 30 And they buried him in his own inheritance at Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash.
I think what is key here is the last verse. Do you see? Israel served the Lord the entire time that Joshua was alive–and THEN they served the Lord all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and who had known all the work that God did for Israel. Joshua left a legacy for his children and for his grandchildren. A beautiful legacy. A godly legacy that led those who came behind him to serve the Lord as well.
The person whose blog I referenced above wrote some things that he hopes his children will be able to say about him when he has gone Home. Some may think that is a morbid exercise. I don’t think so. I think it’s a good way to take a spiritual temperature and to see if one is living their life in such a way that God will be pleased and that those that come behind that person will know God and serve God because of the example that has been set before them.
Therefore, I took some time this afternoon to write out what I would hope my children would say about me, after I have gone home. Here is just a part of what I wrote.
Mom first and foremost loved God and trusted that He would provide for our family. She taught us to recognize all the things God has done for us through the years–physical protection, basic financial needs met, and the ability and importance of giving back to others.
Life was not easy, yet she was strong and resilient. She taught us to be independent humans making wise decisions that were based upon a very real dependence upon God. We saw her pray. We saw her read and study scripture. We saw her in true worship. And we, too, followed those footsteps. The strong faith that we were brought up in is similar to the faith that Timothy learned from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.
She was far from perfect, and she admitted that to us in humbleness and quietness. We always felt that mom was genuine in who she was–that she was real. Honest. Faithful. And that she loved us with all of her heart. She strived to improve, strived to be the best mom she could be. Even though a busy single mother, she never failed to spend time with each one of us one on one, giving us her full attention.
Mom loved her church and she loved to worship with fellow believers. She also felt strongly about missions and the need to be aware of the world. She kept up with current events, using them to teach us nearly every day. She loved to read, and instilled that love in each of us.
Mom was a very good friend. A very good listener. And she had a true desire to see her non-Christian friends become Christ followers. She was consistent, reliable and asked God constantly for wisdom in how to raise us. She never gave up, but taking 1 Thessalonians 3:8 as her challenge, she strove to stand fast in the midst of terrifically challenging events and circumstances; and she stood fast until her last breath.
Whew. Re-reading this, I realize just how far short I fall of this description. So pathetically far. But I also recognize that this exercise awakens a deep longing in me to strive to meet these words. Particularly when I think of how Joshua’s example continued to lead after his death. Someday I will have grandchildren. I want to raise children who will raise my grandchildren up in the faith of Christ.
How about you? What would you hope someone would be able to say about you at the end of your life? Life is short. Our time here is limited. There are many that need to see God in us, working through us to reach out to others. To care for others.
Life is short my friends. Don’t whittle it away without thought to what kind of legacy you are leaving behind, because every one leaves some sort of legacy when their time on earth is finished.