What if you woke up this morning, sat down at the kitchen table with your breakfast, opened up the local newspaper and read your obituary? That’s right, you died! What would that obituary say about the life you lived? This happened to Alfred Nobel. We all know him for his creation of the Nobel Peace Prize. But before that he made his fortune producing explosives and ammunition. One morning Alfred Nobel read his obituary in the local newspaper. It described him as a man who made it possible to kill people quicker than anyone ever before. His brother was the actual one who died but the newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred. Nobel realized this was the way he was going to be remembered and it saddened him. So, he created the Nobel Peace Prize awards to recognize those who had benefited humanity.
If you died today, how would you be remembered? That moment awakened Nobel to do something about his future and legacy. Scripture says, “Be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:15-16). What I take away from this is live wisely, not foolishly and make your life count. I want my life to count. D.L. Moody once said, “If you knew Jesus was coming back tonight, how would spend the rest of your day?” I have this motto: “Live like Jesus died yesterday, resurrected today, and is coming back tomorrow” (I believe Martin Luther wrote that).
If your obituary ran in the paper today, what would it say? I’ve preached many funerals over the years and eulogized many wonderful souls. Some had so much to say about them I couldn’t repeat it all. Some lives spoke volumes without words. I remember meeting with one man whose mother had died. Not knowing her, I asked him to tell me some things I could say about her. He couldn’t think of one thing to say about her. Not one! Surely there was something to say about a life of 80+ years I emphasized but he said nothing. How sad! That scripture in Ephesians tells us to make the most of our time. That also means we should redeem our time. How do we make up for lost time? Seconds tick away for all of us and none of us are promised tomorrow. What do we have? Today! Stop what you are doing right now and ask yourself, “What can I do today to make a difference in the life of someone else? What can I be involved in that is bigger than myself? What is God’s will for my life – a dream so big that it cannot be accomplished apart from Him?” Then take the first step in it.
Maybe it’s time to reconsider the path your life is on? Perhaps your past is one of which you are ashamed? Remember, your past doesn’t define you – Jesus does. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Did you catch that? He had a plan for you long before He created you! He didn’t create you then say, “What am I going to do with them?” Good News! Jesus desires a relationship with you (John 3:16). In that relationship is where you find meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and destiny. If you don’t like where life is headed, make a change – choose Jesus. If you are in Christ, you become a new creation! Psalm 139:16 tells us God has a book in heaven that lists all of our days before one of them came to be. If He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11) then why don’t we ask Him about them? If you want to leave a legacy, you have to live a legacy. Start today, forget the past (learn from it), and embrace the future God already designed for you to have.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.