What Matters Most

...a righteous man [woman] will be remembered forever. Psalm 112:6

Last week our family said goodbye to its last WWII veteran, Jimmy Culbreth. Sweet Jimmy married my Pap-Paw's first cousin, Rosemary, who was beautiful on the inside and out.

Rosemary passed away last August. She and Jimmy had been married for 67 years. Expectedly, he missed her greatly and longed to be with her.

Emotions stirred deep within me as I tearfully attended Jimmy's graveside service. Much like Rosemary's funeral, the pastors spoke of the legacies these two had left behind. Lifelong and very active members of a church my great, maybe great-great, grandparents had been a part of establishing many years ago, they had touched countless lives.

Standing in the same small, quiet cemetery where my greats and great-greats are buried, I was reminded of how short our lives are on this earth.

Gone, but not forgotten.

It's really not the accomplishments we achieve in life, but the relationships we touch.

It's good to spend some time reevaluating our lives every so often. Funerals seem to trigger that in me because I am reminded of how short life really is.

I have written before about the busy lifestyle we lead, as many families do. (And right now, we're at peak season!) Often, I have good intentions. Taking a meal to someone, sending a card, inviting a friend to lunch.

However, if those thoughts never leave my head and never get put into action, they are forever only a good intention.

Unfortunately, legacies aren't made of good intentions. They are instead made of time well spent and choices well made.

Jimmy made a choice years ago that I only learned of at his passing. When he was in high school, he must have been quite a football player. He received offers to play at Georgia and Carolina. Most young men today would be thrilled to have those opportunities. Their only decision being, which school?

But Jimmy made his choice to join the US Navy as WWII was getting started. That makes him a hero in my book! And God blessed his decision, because it was during this time, that he met Rosemary.

A life of service. Service to his country, service to his family, service to his church. And most importantly, service to His God.

Jesus is our ultimate example of serving and loving others.

A life that follows His example is a life well lived. A life that leaves a legacy is not soon forgotten.

Lord, help me to not get so caught up in my own busy schedule that I have no time for others. Help me to listen to Your guidance when I need to act on a kind thought or a small gesture that may brighten someone else's day. I don't want to live a life of good intentions, but leave a legacy that mattered. May I truly follow my Jesus, each and every day, and may He show me what matters most. Amen.

Witnessing a World Without Love

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
~ 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV) (Emphasis mine)

Sound like the world we live in today?

I have referenced in by Bible the words "without love" (vs. 3) in Greek, actually means "family love."

Deeply saddened over the past several months, I have been carrying around a heavy heart for people I am close to, as well as several acquaintances.

Families are falling apart, marriages are dissolving, even couples one would never suspect as having the first problem are choosing to separate. Some of these hit very close to home. Never could I have imagined some of the events that have happened recently.

Divorce at any age, whether a person is a young adult with small children, or a senior citizen with several grandchildren, trickles down and affects the entire family.

Marriages today are under attack.

The devil is on the prowl. (1 Peter 5:8)

Honestly, I have felt somewhat paralyzed. It is not my crisis. Perhaps it is not your crisis. Or perhaps it is.

What should a Christian friend or family member do?

The answer seems too simple, but I will share what I believe God has impressed on my heart.

Pray. Simply pray.

Pray the Holy Spirit will convict and change the person'(s)' heart(s), making a way for reconciliation. Remember, we are ALL sinners saved by the grace of God. There is no sin so awful that He cannot forgive. Pray also for ALL family members affected.

Pray for wisdom when given opportunities to speak the Truth in love. Proverbs 15:23 says, "a man [woman] finds joy in giving an apt reply - and how good is a timely word!"

Pray the Holy Spirit will give you power to love like Jesus, and leave the judging to Him.

How did Jesus respond to the woman at the well? (John 4) The adulteress about to be stoned? (John 8)

He did not condemn. rather he loved them and gently pointed them to the Truth. A delicate balance for most of us, myself included.

Kindness can be misunderstood as acceptance or condonement. On the flip side, confronting a sinful behavior can be interpreted as judging or self-righteousness. Therefore, I have decided to try to err on the side of kindness rather than condemnation. (I confess, I haven't always handled these matters in the best way.) One must use caution or a friendship may be damaged.

And finally...

Pray for healing. Some marriages will be reconciled; some will end.

Healing must take place in either case. Nothing is impossible for God. He can bring good out of heartbreaking circumstances. Trust Him to reveal His glory in the midst of pain.

Human love sometimes fails. And even more so in today's world.

But God is forever faithful.

And He is our Comforter.