The first time the thought hit me I felt both ridiculous and incredibly morbid. Who in their right mind thinks about what they want to be known for after they die? But then I realized our after is simply our legacy. What do you want people to remember?
I’m sure you’ve done some great stuff. Maybe won a few awards, been honored a time or two, kept your commitments and filled up a resume.
The thing is no one will really remember. They won’t be thinking about what you did – they’ll be talking about who you were.
When it’s all said and done, who do you want to be remembered for being?
I knew it as sure as the sun rises each morning – I want to be remembered for loving much and loving well. I get it all wrong way too often and find myself apologizing at so many turns, but no matter the circumstance or the conversation I hope the after-thought I leave behind is one of love.
I want to focus on the present while living in anticipation of the future. I want to love so deep that it’s the only ocean I drown in. I want my ‘after’ to be love.
So it really isn’t a question of whether you’ll leave a legacy, a mark, or an after-thought – it’s a question of what you’ll leave.
No degree or piece of paper, no accolade or big congratulations, will ever amount to anything if you haven’t loved from the depth of your being.
For you to leave love behind you have to carry it with you.
I was reading in Exodus and came across the story of the Israelites fighting the Amalekites. (Don’t worry if you don’t know how to say Amalekites because that isn’t at all where this little story is going. Also, Bible names can be really hard.)
The story is about a fight, yes, but it’s really about how the fight is won.
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. But Moses became tired and his hands began to lower.
(Put your arms over your head for a full minute. Don’t even grab a stick – unless you have one handy nearby (and that’s kinda strange, to be honest) – and just keep your arms up.)
(Exhausting, right? And he did this for a real long time.)
But his people were right there, right by his side. He wasn’t fighting alone or journeying alone. He wasn’t following God on his own.
Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. When the fighting was over and the battle won, Moses built an altar and called it The Lord Is My Banner.
Like Moses, we are not fighting alone. We need our people to journey with and walk with, to hold our hands up when we’re tired. But they’ve got to know what we’re fighting for. Moses was carrying a heavy load for the people of Israel and I think it’s safe to say that you, friend, are carrying a lot on your shoulders as well.
Fears and worries, things that have to get done, projects and deadlines and celebrations, too.
In all of those things, you’re going to leave an after. Decide what you want it to be, carry it with you, and tell your people. Let them hold up your hands when you’re tired. Allow them into the story and into the fight.
Carry your after with faithfulness. Raise the banner together. Build an altar of worship to the Lord.