How do we want to be remembered? As people think about their relationship with us in the past, what do they remember? What is our legacy? If someone had to place some words on our tombstone, what would those words be?
Paul is writing to the church at Thessalonica. He writes what he remembers about the people. He says, “We remember before our God how you put your faith into practice, how your love made you work so hard, and how your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ is firm.” (I Thessalonians 1:3) What a way to be remembered!
1. Lifestyle – your faith is put into practice. What he was saying is that the people didn’t just talk the talk, but walked the walk. It is easy to talk a good game – it is tough to walk it.
I love to be around people who live their faith. They say what they mean and mean what they say. If they promise you something, you never have any doubt that they will carry out that promise. Wouldn’t it be great to be a part of a business world where a handshake meant more than a legal signature?
The best teaching is to practice accurately what we teach. A few weeks ago the Old Navy clothing chain sold some official college T-shirts. The shirts said “Lets Go” followed by the school name. The problem is that they left off the apostrophe in “Lets.” More than 70 colleges have their names on these T-shirts. I hope the colleges do a better job of teaching than they do endorsing T-shirts with misspelled words connected to their college name.
2. Motivation – He remembers that they were motivated by love. A lot of people don’t mind doing hard work, but the motivation is to receive some kind of reward. We are a reward based culture. We will do something if we are rewarded.
The greatest motivation is love. Could we be remembered as people who just do things with no thought of receiving something in return. We do it because we love and care.
There is a great story about a beautiful young American nurse serving in a leprosarium in Korea. Some wealthy business men were observing how carefully she cared for the lepers. They commented how she could have a very lucrative job back in the United States. One of them remarked “I wouldn’t do what she is doing for $1 million.” The beautiful young nurse heard the comment and looked at him and said, “Neither would I, but for the love that Jesus has for me, and the love he has developed in me for these people, I gladly do it.” Her motivation was love!
3. Hope – your hope is firm in Jesus Christ. Our hope must stand firm in tough situations. The foundation must be solid. Jesus is the only hope that always stands firm!
There is a great old gospel song that says “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.”
We need to be careful about putting our hope in human relationships, military preparedness, politics, economic principles, the fact that our health is good, or that we have a good job. Our ultimate hope must be in Jesus Christ if it is going to be firm.
How will we be remembered? What we are doing today will determine how we will be remembered tomorrow!