Your life is just a dash in time. How will you leave a legacy?

I’ve attended more funerals than I care to remember—each one painful, but different. I once attended the service of a homeless man named Roger who was dear to our church; as staff, we were encouraged to go to show our support. I sat toward the back because I had never met the man, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As far as I knew, he didn’t have any family or friends. I was sure it would be short and sweet—we’d sing a few songs and then be on our way.

As with most services, the pastor gave those in attendance a chance to say a few words about him. I remember sitting there thinking how awkward this was going to be. I have been to funerals where no one wanted to speak—how could anyone have anything to say about a homeless man?

After a few moments of silence, a gentleman walked up to the podium and began speaking about an encounter he had with Roger. He had offered him money, but Roger asked for a hot meal instead. The two men talked like old friends over a sandwich and coffee, and as they walked out of the restaurant, the gentleman offered Roger some money to get by. Roger declined the offer and with tears in his eyes thanked him for seeing him as a person and not a waste of a human being. For taking the time to sit with him and talk, instead of pretending like he didn’t exist. Another person spoke of how Roger would keep business cards for our church in his pocket and invite people to go to church—can you even imagine?

For thirty minutes, story after story was told about how this man had impacted lives. I wish I had the chance to sit with him myself. I sat there in the back of the auditorium feeling convicted that this man who had nothing to give but himself gave so much more than I do. You see, I am far too caught up in the busyness of life, doing errands, carpooling kids, waiting for the perfect moment to really reach people where they are. But this man, all he had was time and himself. I wonder how many people came to know Christ through him. This man took the “dash” that was his life and made the most of it—you could hear it in each person’s story as they talked about him.

So, what will you do with your dash? How do you want to be remembered?

Do you want to be remembered by how many followers you had, or by how many you helped to follow Christ?

Will your children remember the times you sat with them to talk about the things going on in their lives? Or will they remember the glow on your face from the screen you were staring at as they longed for your attention?

Will your neighbors remember you as the one with the fancy car and well-manicured lawn? Or the one who brought hot soup when they were sick and hot coffee when they needed someone to talk to?

What are you doing to make sure you're leaving the legacy you want, and not the one the world so easily provides?