Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Last week I wrote a blog about not finishing strong. I used Paterno and DeLaughter as examples of men who achieved greatness only to stumble before reaching the finish line. It was by choice that they stumbled. And that is what most people will remember.
This past weekend, John and I attended the memorial service of our friend and former associate pastor in Oklahoma. I don’t recall ever leaving a funeral service feeling like I did this one. I have been to beautiful services, some we laughed more than we cried, others we cried without laughter and some we were just in shock to be there because of the timing of the death. Regardless, I hate funerals. I selfishly want to keep all my family and friends with me forever.
But listening to the testimonies of this man’s life both convicted and inspired me. We laughed and we cried and we celebrated a strong finish. I left wanting to be more. Do more. Love more. So did John. I hope this service is life-changing and my legacy grows stronger and more impactful. Even in his death, he is ministering to me.
This is not a tribute to Pastor Herb Hull, even though he is worthy. His legacy and the impact he had on thousands and thousands of lives speaks a greater tribute than any words I could ever type out. And his legacy was summed up consistently and continuously with each speaker and condolence written, “He loved people.”
Do you know how hard it is to love all people? Not just the loveable ones, but all of them? If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit it is not an easy challenge. Sometimes, even in our own families, it can be difficult. And it feels near impossible to be faithful in thinking more of others than ourselves. If we are honest. But Pastor Herb did it. So we know that it can be done.
Of course, Christ did it. But often times we dismiss that with a wave of the hand and an attitude of “But He is Christ, He was perfect. I’m not perfect so I can’t be expected to always love and serve others.” But here is an example of an imperfect man that loved others and served people his entire life.
The older I get the more I realize how much I need God’s Word every day. Opening, reading, applying scripture daily is where I will create the legacy I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. Devouring God’s Word is the very foundation for a strong finish in my life.
Keeping God’s Word hidden in my heart is how I can live a congruent life. Pastor Herb’s three sons are of the same opinion that their dad was the same man at home behind closed doors as he was behind the pulpit. That is quite a testimony. Congruency in our lives creates a strong finish.
As I said last week, I don’t want to live my whole life loving and serving only to fall short in the end. I want to finish the race God has called me too, strong and charactered. Spending time in scripture will be my foundation to a strong finish. Just as it was for Pastor Herb.
It is not my New Year’s resolution, because I usually only last until the 4th or 5th of January on those. It is my commitment. I’m not going to keep cramming in my Bible study time in the carpool lines at school or the last minutes before I fall asleep exhausted at night. My time with God and studying His Word is going to be priority in my days. Not the left-over, need-to-get-done time.
And through that I know God will help me in my desire to be more. Do more. Love more.
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21)