By Joe Chesser
This is a weekend for remembering. It’s a time to hold special services and a time for going to the cemeteries to decorate graves with flowers and pictures. We do this to remember and honor those who so gallantly defended our country’s freedom with their lives. This has been extended to also remember and honor those who hold a special place in our past – family, friends and other special people. We do this to keep alive in our memories those special people whose lives mattered to us.
What is it that we remember? What is it that makes a person’s life live on after they have died? A popular inspirational reading captures some of what I am thinking:
"What will matter most is...
not what you bought, but what you built.
not what you got, but what you gave.
not your success, but your significance.
not that you learned, but that you taught.
not your competence, but your character.
not your memories, but the memories that live on in those who love you.
It’s so easy to major in minors, to let the insignificant dominate the important. It’s so easy to let making a living become more important than making a life. It’s so easy to believe that what you have is more important that who you are. It’s so much easier to buy gifts than it is to give yourself.
You don’t have to be wealthy or talented or educated to live a life that matters. In fact, these are often the very things that prevent you from living a life that matters. Despite living in “extreme poverty,” the Macedonians lived lives that mattered. The rich young ruler didn’t (2 Cor. 8:1-5, Matt. 19:16-24). Though he had social status and education, the Pharisee did not choose to live a life that mattered. Yet, the humble tax collector did (Luke 18:9-14).
Living a life that matters is not an accident. It’s about making the right choices. Choose people over possessions. Choose giving over getting. Choose others over self. Choose God over anything or anyone else.
This Memorial Day weekend is a good time to remember how others had lived. While you are at it, take time to reflect on your own life. Are you living a life that matters? When others think of you, will they think of God?
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org