Sunday we were blessed to be with the brethren in Cosby, Tennessee, and spend time with our friends Olie and Mary Williamson.
Olie is amazing. He’s 89. Teaches a Bible class every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Preaches every Sunday morning, unless there’s a visiting preacher (like me) he can draft to preach. And still plays golf, shooting less than his age.
Weekly, Olie writes a column, Bible Talk, for the Newport Plain Talk newspaper. Recently, Olie’s column quoted a piece by speaker, lecturer, former law professor, and attorney, Michael Josephson. It’s entitled “What Will Matter” As Olie says, “It’s too good not to share.”
WHAT WILL MATTER
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage,
or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories of those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.
There’s much to unpack and reflect upon from this piece. I was reminded of a response by my Dad whenever I become unduly upset about some problem in my teen years. “In 100 years it won’t make any difference.” I didn’t particularly care for that advice at 14. However, at 74, closer to the age my Dad died, I’m more appreciative of his counsel.
Ultimately, the only thing that will matter, is to hear the words of Jesus when this life is over, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matt. 25:21).
Or as our late friend and preaching colleague, Dee Bowman, was known for saying, “If you miss heaven, you’ve just missed all there is.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman