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.

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