Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Revelation 14:13 (NIV)
No one is exempt from death. Whether we are a king, a millionaire, homeless or an average, struggling tenant of Middle America, we will all die. So many run from death; never speak of it or acknowledge its universality. They delude themselves into thinking “I don’t have to think of this now. It won’t happen tomorrow.” The reality is we are not promised a certain number of days and death comes to infants and and those who live to 100 and every age between. The only component we have control over is how we lived that life.
I met a man some 30+ years ago. And though he was not an every day player in my life, he so lived his life with integrity that I named my youngest son after him, James. James, the elder, was a quiet man who worked hard all his life. He loved his wife. He loved his children and taught them by his example. He was available and willing to help his neighbors, seeing the payoff in a job well done. He honored his LORD with regular attendance in church but knew that faith in God was more about carrying the commands and love of God out into his community.
Any moment now, James will leave this world and be reunited with His Father God and with the young man who also carried his name and went before him into Heaven. I bet young James will greet his counter part with a handshake and a personal tour of the heavenly city. Reunions are wonderful events in Heaven!
A legacy is something handed down from one generation to the next or the next. A legacy can have a far reaching effect in the lives of a specific family but also in a community. Thirty years ago I met James along with probably 30-40 other people from this family I married into. It took me several months to connect individuals to their specific spouses and mates. James I connected immediately. His influence on my life was positive and profound.
What will my legacy be? Will those I leave behind also see part of James in me? I believe they will for I learned first hand about kindness and giving and how helping others isn’t about how much wealth I may have but am I willing to give of the commodity I do possess – my time. It is a valuable commodity and truly a gift when freely given.
So, go rest, James. Your work here on earth is done. Your legacy will live on.
Go Rest High On that Mountain written and sung by Vince Gill.