How Will We Be Remembered?

Recently, someone shared some memories on Facebook about their grandfather on the anniversary of his death. Here is a short excerpt: “Grandfather was a man who loved God with all his heart, and it showed. When he heard the name ‘Jesus,’ tears came to his eyes, and his face showed radiant joy for his heavenly Father.” And the tribute ended: “Grandfather was a unique and special man who was loved by many. Twenty-six years have passed since Grandpa left us to be with Jesus, but we know we will see him again soon.”

Since you are reading the Seniors’ Pages, you may also be blessed with grandchildren, as I am. Doreen and I have seven who call us “Grammie” and “Gramps.” This blessing is also a clear indication that we are inching closer to our goal. When you read this, the question inevitably arises, “What will people remember when I leave this world?” That is indeed a thought-provoking question. Why don’t we take a closer look?

How are memories actually created? Observations shape memories. Our entire life is like a movie watched by our loved ones and other people we interact with. It is an undeniable fact that we really should be mindful of. We are being watched. And what do others see and hear? And what will they remember about us when we come to mind?

How do we act in difficult situations? What do we say about the people around us? What do we do when fear overwhelms us and we cannot cope with life’s circumstances? How do we behave before going to church? And what do we talk about at the dinner table after church? What comments do we voice about church problems? And, and, and…. The list of questions could go on endlessly. Are we just religious, acquainted with Christianity, or are we known as godly people in a close relationship with Jesus?

One could also phrase the question in a different way: How would I like to be remembered by my loved ones? Good question, isn’t it? You can compile your own list, but let me mention some points that became important to me after some thought. I want to live in such a way that those who come behind me, when they think of me, remember the following:

  • That I loved the Lord unconditionally and without reservation. 
  • That I served the Lord with joy. 
  • That I sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. 
  • That I was grateful even when life did not go as expected. 
  • That I was obedient to God’s will, without “ifs” or buts.” 
  • That the Word of God shaped my life. 
  • That I was willing to go the extra mile. 
  • That I loved my neighbor as myself. 
  • That I faithfully fulfilled my role in the church. 
  • That the fruit of the Spirit was visible in my life. 
  • That I completed my race victoriously.

Of course, there are many other goals that could be mentioned. After all, this is merely a catalyst for reflection. I want to expand this personal list, especially focusing on practical ways of making these ideas a reality.

It wouldn’t hurt to “look in the mirror” either. Are the things I wish for truly a reflection of how I live? Is it just wishful thinking, or will others want to follow in my footprints?

Abraham lived about 4000 years ago. During his lifetime, he moved many times. If you follow his journey, you will notice something. It seems that every time he settled in a new place, he first built an altar to worship his God. We read in Genesis 12:7-8, “Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.” – He had long moved on, but the stones of the altar remained and spoke clearly. They testified that Abraham worshipped his God here and served Him. And even today, a long time later, readers of the Bible are reminded of Abraham, his altars, and his worship.

I don’t want my descendants to remember what I owned, or what I left behind for them, my achievements, or what I accomplished. I would much rather have my grandchildren remember Gramps and his faith, his love for God, his anchor in life, his love for the Bible, his close relationship with God in prayer, his trust in God, his love and compassion for others. And when they remember Gramps, I hope they are also reminded of Jesus Christ.

I believe this is only possible if one lives very close to Jesus. In John 15:5, we read, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” A blessed life springs from a close relationship with Jesus; we will leave a legacy that people still talk about even after we are long gone.

Harry Semenjuk

Wetaskiwin, Alberta

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