How Will You Be Remembered?

Years ago I was the pastor of a small church in Indiana. Sadly, I would soon find myself preaching my first funeral. A church deacon had retired from his job and he and his wife had taken a motor home to Florida for a vacation. He became ill, they returned, and in a short time he had been diagnosed with cancer. He died quickly. But, I remember sitting in his hospital room reading the 23rd Psalm repeatedly at his request.

The preaching of his funeral was easy, even for a new preacher like me. I knew he was trusting in the Lord. I had heard him say, "The Lord is MY Shepard, I shall not want". He knew that God would be with him. His passing saddened us all, but his funeral was actually a joyous occasion because of his faith in Christ and his relationship with God. I'll always remember this man for his faith and his love for God. And I remember it well......... I remember.
My mother died of cancer years ago while I was still in college. Her illness was prolonged and because I was away at school I didn't see her as much as I should have. Now all these years have passed and I find myself asking, "Did my mother know God? During her illness, we never talked about "religion". I didn't know God then and I didn't care to. But I do remember some books lying around her sick bed. Books about "God", and "Jesus", and "the comforter". But I'll always remember the uncertainty of her future. Did she know God? My memory of her is.... "uncertainty." Yes, I remember... much uncertainty.

I think of yet a third person that also died of cancer. He was a vice-president of a large corporation. He made lots of money because he was a shrewd businessman. But he also liked to celebrate when a new account was landed. After his death, a company obituary was issued to pay tribute. Even though this was more than 20 years ago, I remember the exact closing words of this "tribute". Sadly, those words were "We will always remember him with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other." To this day that is exactly how I remember him. Oh, how I remember!

Three true stories of three real people. A God fearing deacon who could find comfort in a Savior, a mother who leaves uncertainty about eternal things, and a businessman who is remembered for cigarettes and booze. Three people who lost a battle with cancer yet each left strikingly different memories.

We never expect to die. But if you and I were to meet, and you were to die the following day, how would I remember you in light of eternity? Saved? Not sure? Or Lost?