We were notified that the “2021” had finally been engraved on my wife Tammy’s Mom’s headstone, so we drove over to the cemetery. As I looked at the headstone, I noticed that it rather coldly summed up her life with her birth and death dates, separated simply by a dash. For Jane, that dash represented more than 89 years of life. During those years, she was a wife, a sister, a nurse, a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She left a wonderful legacy for her family. That got me to thinking about what my dash will represent. What legacy will you or I leave?
Alistair Begg in his devotional book Truth for Life, writes:
Each of us is leaving a legacy. Every day we are adding something to the portrait of our lives, and eventually what we leave behind—our decisions, our contributions, our priorities—will remain, at least for a time, for others to reflect upon and consider.” Continue reading →
As I write this, I’ve just returned from a Celebration of Life service for Bob, a dear saint from our church. The service included touching remembrances from his three children and his only sibling, a brother. It’s obvious that Bob has left a wonderful legacy. It made me wonder about the legacy that we will leave with those whose lives we have touched.
Here are three key areas in which Bob’s life impacted others:
Family. Bob was married for 53 years. He and his wife had three children and fifteen grandchildren. It was heart-warming to hear of the ways that Bob showed his love to his family – by being present at their sporting events, going camping with them, allowing his grandchildren to pile stuffed animals on him while he was “sleeping”, by being a protective “big brother”, by stressing that family was more important than career and success, etc. He loved his family and it was clear that his family loved him very much as well. What kind of legacy are you leaving with your family? Are there relationships that you need to heal?
Faith. Bob and his brother were PK’s, or pastor’s kids. Bob graduated from seminary and had a strong faith that he modeled for his family as we heard in the remembrances from his children and brother. His Celebration of Life service was a Christ-centered one that included much loved hymns and scripture. Bob also sang in our church choir. Are you leading your family in the ways of the Lord? Are you leaving a legacy of faith for your family that could carry on for generations?
Vocation. In her comments, Bob’s daughter mentioned that she felt that her father’s greatest legacy was adoption. Bob helped facilitate thousands of adoptions. In fact, he made forty-two trips to China helping parents bring back new members of their family, some of whom attended the service. After the service I talked to a long-time friend of mine who benefitted from Bob’s adoption work. They were one of the families that Bob went to China with to bring back their adopted child. Bob truly integrated his faith and touched many lives in his work. What kind of legacy are you leaving in your work? People will soon forget what seemed at the time to be outstanding results, but they will never forget how you affected their lives.
Bob was a beloved brother, son, uncle, father, grandfather and husband. As a believer, his family has confidence that they will see him again in glory. Until then, he has left a wonderful legacy, which should be an encouragement for us to do the same.
I realize that most of you did not know Art Moser, who went home to be with the Lord late Monday evening at age 91. Let me share how he touched my life. I first met Art when he and his wife Millie joined our church several years ago. We served as elders together at the church for a number of years. The last time I saw him was several weeks ago at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria. It was Art’s first time back at church in several months after breaking his hip. He was in good spirits and it was great to see him and Millie. Little did I know it would be the last time I would see him this side of Glory.
For years I’ve told my wife Tammy that Art modeled a life I hope to live as I grow older. Art is a wonderful example of someone not wasting their life. As I was taking one of my favorite classes in seminary, Spiritual and Ministry Formation with Dr. Phillip Douglass, I completed his “Divine Design Assessment”. When asked to name people that I respect, I wrote this about Art: “When I think about people in ministry, I admire Ruling Elder Art Moser for his ability to finish strong. In his 80’s he is still mentoring young men, reading books and writing book reviews and articles for our church newsletter.” I listed him right up there with R.C. Sproul, Michael Card, Scotty Smith and John MacArthur as men I admire in ministry.
I will adapt the Apostle Paul’s words to Art’s life:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
Over the years Art would write articles for our newsletter called “Small Thoughts”. I’m reprinting one of my favorites below as we celebrate his life and legacy.