Memorial services are great for bringing perspective.
I recently attended one for a dear guy who, at one stage of our lives, was extremely instrumental in our continuing faith journey. He was the first small group leader we had in the church we attended more than 20 years ago. We’ve since moved on from that church, moving home to help start another church in a nearby community.
What shocked us about this situation was that his death was sudden – and he was so young (just four years older than my husband). So there we were, a group of people that had come back together from various corners of the country to celebrate and acknowledge the life of this unassuming man who had had an impact on us.
He had been a somewhat clumsy, awkward guy, but so friendly and gentle. Everyone who paid tribute to him recognised those qualities. But they also talked about his absolute assurance of the truth of the gospel. Although a scientist, he had had no problem marrying his faith with scientific fact, and his faith had been the stronger for it.
As I sat listening to people speaking that day, I suddenly heard a gentle whisper:
What would people be saying if it were you? How would people describe you?
I know that the word ‘gentle’ would certainly not be among the words used. Unfortunately that’s not a natural character trait for me…
But would there be the things I would hope for, such as: kind, loyal, honest, authentic, faith-filled, inspiring, encouraging? Or would there be, as I suspect I’m viewed as currently: over-busy, stressed, aloof, overbearing, difficult to approach, emotional?
I know I’m overstating the case somewhat, but sitting there that day made me take stock:
What is it I’m investing my time and efforts in, and are they worthwhile?
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