Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Will You Leave a Legacy?

I have done lots of funerals. I rarely have one which the deceased has prepared for. Most of them are not surprised by their own deaths. They knew it was coming. They are just unprepared.

The family is left to make all the arrangements. They do what they think is appropriate. Sometimes they follow the unadvised wishes of the departed. Some things sound great but really don't work in a funeral. You wouldn't know this unless you are in the funeral business.

My job is to give comfort to the ones left behind. I need to tell them that their loved ones are in a better place. Many times I do this with some pretty thin evidence. The families cannot tell me when their loved ones made any commitment to Jesus which would be the basis for salvation. I am left to construct stories that might be true. I look for any evidence that their lives made any difference for the cause of Christ. I look for testimonies that I am afraid are never there. I have simply preached Jesus sacrifice on the cross on many occasions without mentioning the deceased. I had absolutely no evidence of their faith to base my messages.

However, there are also many times that I know the deceased have a strong faith. I know how they have lived their lives. I know this but I would like to have been able to tell their stories more definitely. Even their own families do not know their stories of salvation. These stories will be forgotten even if they are known by the next generation.

This is why I urge people to write out their stories of how they came to know Christ. These are stories that could be read at their funerals. It would give clear evidence of their being in heaven. It would give greater assurances to their families. It could be passed down to their children's children's children. These testimonies could be a legacy left for the succeeding generations. Reading this testimony might bring a descendant to Christ years after the Christian has died.

Most people don't know how to write their own testimony. It is really simple if you will answer six questions about your salvation: Why? What? Where? When? Who? and How? They don't have to be answered in this order. These answers will tell a complete story.

I suggest you put these on a word processor and allow your family to read a printed copy for their understanding. Tell them that this is so that your ancestors and others will know of your faith. Ask them if the story makes sense. This will give you the opportunity of telling your family about your faith while letting them know that you have this document to be left for your ancestors. (There are many other things you need to do to plan a funeral. This is just one of them.)

My wife recently received a watch in a presentation case. It was the one carried by her father's uncle. The watch itself is unremarkable. The writing on the back is important. The framing of this watch was a gift from my wife's mother to her dad on their 25th wedding aniversary. It said that she hoped for twenty-five more. This gift is a legacy of their relationship. We will pass it down to our children.

I think it would be nice to find a way of presenting something special that would tell the story of your salvation. It should be done so that it can be passed down to those who will never know you on this earth. Maybe you can have the cover of an old Bible or the picture of a church or some other creative and meaningful item that can be put in a case on which you will write the story of your faith. It can be passed down from generation to generation. It will become your legacy. And unlike most, you will be remembered past two generations.

Do you want to leave a legacy?

No comments: