As a pastor and a police chaplain, every week I’m comforting someone who is facing the reality that we are all terminal. I prayed with two cops yesterday – one whose 62 year old mother died of a heart attack and another whose 66 year old mother just found out she has an advanced stage of cancer. The one common thing that all of us want when we consider the end of our lives is this: Did we live a life that mattered?
We all want to matter. We want our lives to have counted for something. We don’t want to live in such a way that we didn’t leave a footprint. We want to know that our lives weren’t lived in vain. We question: Did we contribute? Did we make a difference? Will any one remember us?
My pastoral role has placed me in a morgue with brothers confirming the identity of their 19 year old sister, at a suicide scene comforting devastated parents, beside a hospital bed with a spouse as the life-support machines were unplugged and the EKG monitor conclusively flat-lined, and in a hospital emergency room telling young parents that the medical staff had tried everything but they couldn’t bring their child back. These are just a few samples from the last three decades.
I know you might think it’s morbid to talk about death–-that maybe I’m a bit abnormal. But actually, it’s unhealthy to live in denial of death and not consider the inevitable. Only a foolish person would go through life unprepared for what we all know will eventually happen.
When I’m speaking at funerals, I love to get family members, friends and acquaintances thinking about their own legacies. I like to ask: How do you need to live today so that you will be remembered as someone whose life really mattered? What is currently at the top of your priority list and is that what really matters most? What will be your contribution today to those who will be memorializing you later? What will they say about you and how you lived your life when you are the one being eulogized?
My mission is to inspire transformissional living— especially in adults over 50. I love to see people still being transformed relationally, spiritually and emotionally as they mature. I’m passionate about helping folks be very intentional and purposeful about using their time, talent and treasure well as they play in the second half of the game. So, I won’t sidestep hard discussions about topics we prefer to ignore.
So I conclude by asking, are you living in such a way now that you will know at the end that your life truly mattered? If yes, what more of the right things do you need to do more often to increase your impact so that everyone around you will also know that your life mattered? If not, what needs to change and when and how will that change begin?
QUESTION: What measurement are you using to know for sure that your life really matters? Please share your answer in the comment section below.