Today was a difficult day. Today, we buried my classmate. But the service for her was so sweet and filled with hope and love that it was hard to not rejoice with her family that she is finally healed and in no more pain.
As we sat listening to her pastor preach about this young woman’s life, I was overwhelmed by the testimony she had left behind. We weren’t close friends growing up, and our relationship as adults has just been through social media and the occasional run-in at the gym or somewhere about town. So while our class was small, I admit that I didn’t know her well.
What I heard today was the legacy of a woman who loved God well. She loved Him so much that she refused to allow her sickness to keep her from worshipping Him. She refused to miss church “just because” her cancer was raging again. She refused to stop serving the community “just because” her cancer wanted her to stay home and rest. She loved, encouraged, and helped others and made them feel loved and wanted. That’s a pretty amazing legacy to leave behind!
I have to admit that I was humbled by this woman, whom I knew all my growing-up years but never knew well. Here was a testimony of someone who saw God as the top priority!
This woman knew these commandments and lived them so well that that is the legacy that she leaves behind her. She never missed an opportunity to worship her God, and she never missed the chance to love her neighbor well.
Next month, my class is getting together for our 20th reunion. The combination of this weekend’s events and planning for the reunion have made me reminisce. I was not an easy person to be around. I was insecure and angry because of that insecurity. Because of my own selfish focus, I am sad to say that I think I missed the opportunity to love my classmates well and to invest in their lives. I am thankful that many of us still live close and keep in touch through social media as well, but I long for the days that I threw away when I could have loved each one of them better.
Today was a difficult day of goodbyes, but her family and friends can rejoice because she lived life well. She had a hope in eternity and wanted others to share that hope with her.
I can’t change how I was in the past, but I do hope that I can shape the future into one that follows my classmate’s example. I hope that others can say of me that I loved God and others well. I hope that one day I can say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).
We don’t know how much time we have here on earth. Some of us may live until we’re 90, while others are taken home before they have even taken their first steps. We aren’t supposed to hold too tightly to this world. But what Jesus did command us to do was to invest in the lives of others while we are here with them and to love Him with all we have.
I don’t know what you are going through. Maybe you are in the midst of fighting for your life or starting a family or struggling through exams. No matter what trials you are battling, stop looking inward and start looking around you. Invest in the people whose lives are part of yours. Hang onto each memory. Treat people with kindness–even the ones who don’t treat you well. And love the Lord your God.
One day, this world will pass away, and we will see how those fleeting moments and challenging relationships impacted eternity. Live today as though you don’t have tomorrow. What will be your legacy?