Every Sunday morning, I am most blessed to walk among giants… though some are smaller in stature, they are mighty in faith. In my Upper Room Sunday School Class, our teacher, Jeff Sims, is a giant of a man in both stature and faith, and each and every week I discover something new about what it means to be a child of God.
A few weeks ago Jeff began our lesson with this question. “What is it that defines you as a person?” They are just a few simple words, but what depth of inquiry they hold. Without a moment’s pause, came this thought, It’s what I leave behind. That’s what defines me and so I shared that with my class. As the weeks have come and gone, that thought has returned again and again.
And I wonder then, what treasures will I leave for my children and their children and theirs who follow… books and pictures, wedding rings and lockets, pipes and wallets, hats and typewriters, and even acres of trees and rolling hills, ponds and creeks. What treasures will I leave behind?
What memories will be recalled as the days come and go? What books, what columns, what photographs, what plays, what laughter, what fun, what road trip all packed in tight in the family van, what flower still blooming that I first planted decades ago, what faith. What will be remembered of me?
What adventure will our children recall with laughter and tears? What image will they see in their mind’s eye when they think of Mom… of Nana… of a friend? What defines me? What defines you, my friends? For whatever it is… whatever you leave behind matters greatly for those who follow.
As I pen these words, I can’t help but think of my dad’s words once more. “Leave it better than you found it, kid.” And that, I suppose is the simplest way to convey what defines me.
I pray with all my heart that I, that we, that all of us kindred spirits leave this place… this temporary home of ours… better than we found it for if we all commit to do that, what a difference we will make, laying aside all the things that weigh us down, all the distractions that divide us, looking to the One who unites us and moving, by faith toward the Lord.
There is no greater inheritance to leave behind than the treasure of faith… of being that Light in the world that brings with it: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. It is possible when we join hands with the Father.
It is more than one human being can take in that God — the Father, Creator, Redeemer, Rescuer, and Friend — commissions us for such a purpose as this: to leave our world better than we found it. We can do this by sharing God’s Light and by walking a journey of faith with integrity, intention, devotion, and power. These things come from God who knows us best of all and loves us in spite of our flaws, our frailties, and our failures. God loves us with an everlasting love that encourages us to be giants of faith in our world.
Below are photos of some of my favorite things... horses, sailing on the Chesapeake, and family.
“For the past two years, I have used Journey to the Table to cultivate community with young adults in Nashville. The rhythm of Journey to the Table with preparation, prayer, listening, silence, and discussion created space for young adults to reflect, grow in their faith, and build relationships. The topics are extremely relevant for emerging adulthood, and the activities and schedule are adaptable for different contexts. We invited the participants to continue the relationships built at Journey to the Table through year-round life groups and affinity groups. I’m looking forward to next year’s Journey to the Table – it truly sets a table for building relationships and growing in our faith.” Learn more about Journey to the Table.