By What-or Whom—Will You Be Remembered?
- Eva Marie Everson
- 2003 30 Apr
"My dad has a simple but powerful faith. The thing I remember most was the way he always prayed—no pious jargon, just simple talk as if God were there in the room with us. He never pleaded with God. He simply made his requests known, gave thanks, and left it at that. It seemed to me that he never doubted God would answer his prayers. Over the years I hope I've been able to manifest the same kind of simple trusting faith. God sees. God hears. God cares." ~~ Wayne, a dad.
This past June, as the tour group I was traveling with trekked across the Holy Land-Israel-we came to the ancient ruins of Hazor in the north.
Hazor, now an archeological site where "digs" continue to uncover exciting historical "treasure," is one of the many tells in Israel. (A tell is an ancient mound in the Middle East composed of remains of successive settlements.) When the first Hazor fell, burned by the fires of Joshua and the conquering army of Israel, it was later rebuilt. Destroyed again, it was rebuilt again, until finally the land just sort of grew over the destruction.
As our touring team of six climbed down into the different levels of Hazor, thereby seeing various times of civilization, we finally came to what had once been the king's palace where a piece of blue tarp now covers the soot covered walls. Get this: the soot covered walls. The flames from Joshua's fire was so powerful, that all these thousands of years later, the tell-tell signs remain.
That evening, after the touring was done for the day, I wrote in my journal: As a Spirit-filled Christian, the Holy Spirit's fire dwells with me. A power...a force...a guiding light that encourages me, strengthens me, comforts me and so much more. A fire, surely, that has left its mark on my life. If someone should find the "remains" of this body thousands of years from now, will the "soot" from the Holy Spirit still be there? Will the people say, "The Holy Spirit burned with such intensity in her life...look, the ashes still cling to the ruins”?
Now, dads, let me ask you this question: are you known more by your relationship to your children, or to your Heavenly Father? What evidences will be found on your "remains" thousands of years from now?
Joseph of Nazareth is known by several factors.
He was the son of Jacob.
He was a carpenter.
He was a "just man."
His wife's name was Mary.
He was the "foster father" to Jesus, the Son of God.
It's the last bit of trivia that is the most important. Can you ever remember a painting of Joseph that didn't involve Jesus in some form or fashion? Or a story? Or a song? Joseph's life is significant to us because of his relationship to our Lord. Because of Jesus, he is remembered.
Being the son of Jacob is important because this put him in the direct line of David-from whom the Messiah would come. Jesus was called "the carpenter's son, " (Mark 6:3) so again we see the direct connection between how we remember Joseph and his paternal relationship to Jesus.
His being called a "just man," (Matthew 1:19) occurs when Mary tells him she is pregnant, and he chooses not to disgrace her, but to quietly send her away. Having made this decision, he is then visited by an angel who informs him that the child Mary is carrying is, indeed, God's. Being just and righteous, he trusts the Lord and brings Mary home to live with him as his wife.
Everything we know about Joseph is centered on Jesus.
Some of you dads were not raised by godly fathers. Others were raised by men who so exemplified our Heavenly Father, their actions drew you closer to God. In speaking with dads, as I have prepared these six articles on Joseph, I have learned that those who were not raised by godly fathers, determined to be as godly as they could for their children. In contrast, those who were raised by godly fathers have a great desire to imitate them.
So here's the 64 million dollar question: when your children-or grandchildren-remember you, how do you wish them to do so?
By your ancestry? I remember learning that my father was somehow related to Melvin Purvis, G-Man ... you know, the guy who took down John Dillinger? I mean, the bloodline may be so far removed there is no more than a corpuscle of relation ... but hey! Who cares? He was related and I was tickled pink to know it and brag about it. However, an even greater memory is seeing my dad pour over the Scriptures and speaking as a Lay Pastor.
By your job? Like Melvin, my father worked in law enforcement. My friends called him "The Man," and I was very proud of what he did. I'd ask him to come to my school and talk about staying straight with the law and clean from drugs, but better still was that on Sundays, he taught Sunday school.
By your personality? Please don't think I'm saying my father was perfect. By no stretch of the word was he perfect. But he was a good man who loves his family and provided for us. And he exemplified humility often, a trait he learned from our Lord. He was and is one of the most forgiving men I've ever known.
By your wife? Though my parents divorced, my father never let my brother or me forget to respect the woman who gave us life. I remember him saying to me once, "She is the mother of my children, and she is a wonderful lady."
Or, by your relationship with Jesus?
If I could only place one line on my father's tombstone, it would be this: He Loved The Lord. I can think of no better epitaph. Can you?
Wrapping It All Up
Who knew so much could be learned from such a tiny bit of information about a man who lived so many years ago? Let's see what we've gleaned:
Coming from good stock begins with you.
Being a man of quiet wisdom is showing your children (and eventually their children, as your actions will be passed on...) the ways of God.
Choose God's way over your way for your life.
Focus on God's plan for your children's lives before your plans.
Know that your children are watching your work habits...and learning by your example.
If you are going to be remembered by anything, let it be your relationship to Jesus.
Eva Marie Everson is the author of Shadow of Dreams & Summon the Shadows and an award-winning national speaker. She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at [email protected] or you can go to her website here.