I have listened to sons tell stories of their fathers which were less than complimentary. Their fathers have died and people come by their homes to express their sympathies. They say very kind words about the deceased. The sons tell me different stories. I have heard them say that their fathers' were jerks (They never use the word "jerk.") I wonder if these dads realized how their sons felt about them. Did they intend to be such jerks?
Many people do not realize that they build a legacy every day of their lives. Everyone has the same number of hours in a day but some choose to get lost in the crowd. Others choose to be known in terrible ways. Even others do not watch what they are doing each day and blow opportunities to do something great. A few become those people who honorable others want to emulate.
A reputation is not built upon a moment but a lifetime. The person who builds a good reputation has consistently worked toward that reputation. It is what would be said of him or her if death came suddenly. They are always working toward something good. They will be known for their good.
Alfred Nobel is known for the Nobel Prize but his altruistic manner was not always his legacy. He was the inventer of dynamite. This was the most destructive force known during his lifetime. A French newspaper wrote a premature obituary of Nobel in 1888. The paper called him the "merchant of death." Alfred Nobel read the story in horror to see how he would be remembered if he died at that time. The paper had painted him as the creator of a substance that killed thousands. He determined this would not be his legacy. He turned his attention to the greater good of mankind and today he is known primarily for the Nobel Prize.
Do you know what your children think of you? Do you know what they would say if you were to die today? Do you care?
I have heard many people say, "When I die, just stick me in an old pine box and throw me in the ground." I suppose that would be enough if that is all there is in this life. What difference does it make if we cease to exist once we die? Everything changes if we are created for eternity. Hell will be filled with people with regrets. They will regret what they have done for eternity.
Please don't be one of them. Live each day with the thought of what would be said of you if you died today. Then, when the time comes, you won't have to worry about it.