Memorial Day – What Legacy Will You Leave?

Matthew 16:25–26 (HCSB) — 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. 26 What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

I’m fortunate to have the fellowship of women in Papua New Guinea who desire to study God’s word. We recently had a discussion on the type of legacy we want to leave behind when we die – What would we most like people to remember about our life and ministry to others? Replace my name with yours and ask yourself today, how would you like this sentence to read?

Shirley was most beloved for the way she…

It’s a bit intimidating isn’t it? For me, it was a call right to the heart. How do I want people to remember me?

Bomana War Cemetery Papua New Guinea

Bomana War Cemetery
Papua New Guinea

As I contemplated this question, my thoughts turned to my recent visit to Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby, PNG. Located near the end of the Kokoda Track, Bomana’s serene and beautifully manicured grounds reminded me a bit of the American cemetery in Normandy. Both are respectful tributes to those who fought and died during World War II. Bomana honors the Australians and other Allied soldiers who lost their lives defending New Guinea from the Japanese on the Pacific front. The rows and rows of perfectly aligned headstones speak of the lasting legacy of the soldiers buried there. Some are a family’s testimony of their loved one’s character, courage and devotion to God. Many simply say, “Known Unto God”, three words that speak volumes about the importance of who really knows their legacy.

Kokoda Trail Head Segeri, Papua New Guinea

Kokoda Trail Head
Segeri, Papua New Guinea

This past weekend the United States observed Memorial Day. It is also a time of remembering the legacy of those who have lost their lives in defense of liberty and freedom for my home country. I was able to watch my home church’s live webcast that took place on Sunday night and I was touched by my pastor’s recognition of the individuals and their families who served and died to keep us free. It was especially poignant for me since, by the grace of God, I have a loved one on the way home from a foreign battlefield. A loved one who lives, yet has seen and experienced the loss of his brothers-in-arms, and knows first hand the importance of their legacy left behind.

The Outpost at Sperwan Ghar Afghanistan

The Outpost at Sperwan Ghar
Afghanistan

I do not pretend to know the validity and purpose of war in God’s sovereign plan today. It is something I continue to ponder. I know only that we live in a world cursed by fallen humankind and enslaved by an evil tyrant (Romans 8:18-25). Even so, I also know that courage and righteousness abound in the brave actions of many who declare their devotion to Christ – on and off the battlefield.

Memorial Day made me think a lot about my own legacy to my family, my community and the kingdom of God. More than anything, this is how I would like my sentence to read:

Shirley was most beloved for her courage in the face of trial, her wisdom in rightly dividing the word of truth, her devotion to her family and most of all, her devotion to Christ.

What legacy will you leave?

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