Over these past many months my wife and I were able to discuss the last wishes of my mother-in-law and to prepare for her approaching death. We would often reminisce about happier times in regards to things Ma said and did during her lifetime. She was such a grand Christian lady who often seemed to bring out the best in people. Many of the stories we shared with each other and with our children often ended in laughter about something she said or did without having the faintest idea about the comedy in her words and actions. She was simply a genuine and loving person who could at times be quite forthright and brutally honest with the world around her. As I prepared my remarks for her funeral these were just some of the many things that ran through my mind.
The greatest things I hold onto are not so much the memories of holidays and visits but the lessons she imparted to my wife, our children, the Sunday school class she taught, her church, the children she worked with and lastly to me. She demonstrated firsthand the love of Christ to those around her in a multitude of ways. She did this not only through the words she spoke but also in the way she lived her life boldly for Christ. In many ways she became a mother to me much more so than even my birth mother. I knew she loved me unconditionally just as she did her own children. In good times and in bad she constantly prayed for me and would often provide sound theological insight from a lifetime of walking with Christ.
By now you may be asking the question, “Why is he sharing these things about a woman that many of his readers didn't know?” The answer is quite simple. One, I share these things in order to honor a woman I dearly loved. Two, I share these things because her life and death has once again caused me to consider the legacies we leave when we pass from this world.
Have you ever considered how you’ll be remembered when you die or if you’ll even be remembered at all? Maybe we should ask this question instead, “What are those things that mark a life as being significant?” For some, I’m sure the answers will be quite base in nature in regards to the material world around them. For others, they may take a more philosophical slant in answering this and other questions concerning life and death. For me, one of the main lessons I learned from Ma was that apart from Christ I’m nothing. My identity is in Christ, and if anything good comes from my life it is because of Christ living within me, (Philippians 1:6).
We can invest in many things that may bring great returns in this world, but the greatest investment one can make which brings an eternal return is found only in a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. The expectation is this: because God has invested in us through the shed blood of Christ we also are to invest in others by sharing the Gospel in the words we speak and in the manner in which we live.
I believe my mother-in-law invested herself in me just as other Christians also invested their time and energies in many of you. Let it not be said that their efforts and the life lessons they shared were in vain. Let me encourage you to write a card, letter, or email to someone today that has invested a part of their life in you while you still have the opportunity to do so. You never know when the day will come that you no longer have an opportunity to say, “Thank you” or “I love you.”
Blessings in the name of Christ,