(Image courtesy of http://www.dougblackie.com.)

I often ask my students at school (especially on Journal Day) how they want to be remembered.  I want them to think about the daily choices they have made, are making, and will make in their lives.  After all, life is all about choices.  When we add up all our choices at the end of our lives, what we have is our legacy; how we will be remembered.

I realized, though, that I'm not sure I really ever sat down and thought about my own legacy: how do I want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered as someone who was kind and compassionate.  I want to know that I brought encouragement and kindness to someone who felt like everyone else in the world hated them, like they were worthless.  I want people to say, "That man gave me hope."  I want to know that I made a difference in the lives of those around me, especially those younger than me.

I want to be remembered as someone who stood for truth.  In a world full of immorality and confusion about what is right and wrong, I want to be known as a light in the darkness, taking a bold stand for truth.  I want people to say, "Now there was someone who wasn't afraid to stand up for what was right."  I want to remembered as walking my talk.

I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard and did his job with honesty.  I want people to look at my corpse someday at my funeral and say, "That guy always worked hard, no matter if it was mowing the yard, writing lesson plans, or washing the dishes."  I want to know, at the end of my life, that I lived a life of fulfillment in my work.

I want to be remembered as someone who was selfless.  I want people to say of me when I'm gone: "I remember the time he was really tired, yet helped me anyway when I was having a bad day."  I want to be remembered as someone who gave, not someone who took.

I want to be remembered as someone who loved kids.  I want to know that my passion for working with boys and girls was not a waste, but that I positively influenced the next generations to live lives far better than mine; to live with character, respect, and kindness.

I want to be remembered as a man of faith.  I want future generations to find my Bible, old and worn out, highlighter marks on every page.  I want my grandkids to see the marks on the floor where I knelt down so often to pray.  I want people to say about me when I'm gone: "That man had the hand of God on his life."

I want to hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Is my lifestyle matching this legacy?  Am I really living my life in such a way as to be remembered by these traits?  Or am I just wishfully thinking these things will happen?

My Great-grandpa Cernek's life verse was Micah 6:8.  It says, "He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you?  But to love mercy, to act justly, and to walk humbly with your God."

A couple of years ago, my Grandma showed me his old Bible.  It was old with many, many pages falling out.  I opened it up carefully and saw verse after verse highlighted in pink and yellow.  I read notes that he had written on the inside cover.

That is how Great-grandpa Cernek was remembered.

Did he make mistakes?  Certainly.  Did he always live his life loving mercy, acting justly, and walking humbly with God?  I doubt it.

And that is what gives me hope, even in my darkest hours.

I know that God's love covers over a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).  And that by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).  Live in that love and grace, knowing that our legacies (I'm speaking to Christians here) don't have to just be dreams - they can be realities, made possible only through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

"Thank You, Oh my Father,
For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit,
'Til the work on earth is done" (There Is A Redeemer, Keith Green).