Remember that immensely popular rap song from a few years back that had the lyrics:
This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!
That song was everywhere! Football commercials, video games, the radio, movies! And yet, without using Google, can you remember the name of the artist who performed the song? I couldn’t (it was “Fort Minor”). Kind of ironic isn’t it? An entire song devoted to being remembered, and yet no one can remember the artist.
I tend to read a lot of history. I recently finished reading a biography of Truman Capote, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Truman was constantly hobnobbing with famous people–the movers and shakers and news makers of his day. He was friends with movie stars and authors and politicians and socialities. And yet what amazed me as I read the book was that I had only heard of one or two of the big name celebrities.
The reality is very few people will remember me. This is not some sort of macabre, self-pity, nobody likes me, I’m a loser, gather round for a group hug, kind of statement. It’s simply the truth. Unless I assassinate a world leader (which I don’t plan on doing) or invent a cure for cancer (which I don’t forsee happening), I will simply fade into the mist of history.
But there are a few people who will remember me, and I want to live my life in light of those people who will remember me.
So who is going to remember me?
In Matthew 6:6 Jesus said:
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
In Matthew 6:19 Jesus said:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
In Matthew 10:42 Jesus said:
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
These verses, as well as hundreds of others, imply that God will remember every good thing we do in the name of Christ, and will reward us for those things. We will forget many of the good deeds we do in the name of Christ. Others will also forget those good deeds. My grandma, who was one of the most godly, gentle, servant-hearted people I ever knew, got Alzheimer’s late in life and forgot just about everything.
But the Lord will NEVER forget any good work done in his name.
When I stand before the Lord on judgment day, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, he will remember my name. He will remember every good deed, and he will reward me for those good deeds. In light of this reality, I want to live with all my might while I yet live. My name will be lost to history, but it will not be lost to the Lord.
The only other people who will remember my name after I die will be my family. My grandma died when I was only thirteen years old, but I remember her very clearly. What do I remember? I remember how generous she was with us. I remember how she loved to sing and dance to worship music. I remember how she constantly served my dad and mom. She left a legacy of godliness behind.
Charles Spurgeon said:
It is a blessed thing for some of us that we can look back on a father’s example and a mother’s example with nothing but unalloyed gratitude to God for both. But there are others among you who, in looking back, must say, “I thank God I was delivered from the evil influence to which I was subjected as a child.” Do not let your child ever have to say that of you, but ask for grace that in your own house you may walk with a perfect heart.
I can look back on my mom and dad’s example with unalloyed gratitude to God for both. Were they perfect, flawless parents? Of course not. But they were godly, generous, affectionate, prayerful, and devoted to God’s word. Most people won’t remember them, but I certainly will.
By God’s grace, I want to leave the same legacy behind for my children. I want my children to remember that I pursued and loved Jesus. I want my kids to remember that I delighted in them. I want my kids to remember how much I loved Jen.
Most people will forget me, and that’s okay. But a few people will remember me, and I want to make sure I leave behind the right kind of memories.