I remember the years before my best friend Robert passed away. We had numerous conversations about death and many were uncomfortable as he would end sentences with, “…because I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be here.” So he started arranging his life to be around his family more and spend more time with his kids. He was so serious about maximizing his time, he even retired from his job early as the doc told him he could die in the office in a few years, or die at home in a few years.
Rob chose to spend that time where it mattered most, home. What would you have done? Worked more to build up more cash for the kids when you die? Would you have left them to live the life you always wanted to live?
Remember, Robert wasn’t 85, but had just turned 45 when he died.
Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 is probably the most read segment of the little book, as it has 14 “A time for…” subjects listed and is often read at funerals. Allow me to say to argue, that perhaps the following verses in the chapter are the most important, as Solomon again looks at the works of man and concludes,
For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him? (Ecclesiastes 3:19-22 ESV)
(Quick side thought – I suppose this is one reason why evolution seems logical. If we just observe life, as Darwin and scientist afterwards did without God, why not think that man and animals are the same? Solomon drew a similar conclusion thousands of years earlier proving once again, there’s nothing new under the sun!)
Yesterday I asked us to think about our legacy. Men struggle, stress and brag about what they are leaving their kids when they die. It might be a fat insurance check, that classic Vette the kids could only look at growing up, large home or that successful business you started from the ground up. The Harvard Law Review states, “Some 70% of family-owned businesses fail or are sold before the second generation gets a chance to take over.” Solomon makes the point that you won’t even know what your family did after you die, but stats like that show you wouldn’t want to know if you could! The family business is gone, the Vette gets parked anywhere in the parking lot, and the inheritance check gets spent on some boyfriend/girlfriend or the latest XBox (need one for every TV in the house now right?), iPhone, Tesla, etc..
Vanity, vanity, it’s all vanity!
So what can you leave your family? What will your legacy be when you are gone? Please begin two things this month:
1.) Make it a priority to enjoy TODAY
2.) Build memories that will be handed down through oral tradition
Solomon reminds us that in the end, it is a blessing from God to enjoy our current condition (if I say work, you’ll be thinking of your main hustle). I love homeschooling because I get to enjoy my kids every day! Pretty soon they will be gone, and I’ll be wondering where the years went. If your kids are gone to school and a myriad of extracurricular activities each day, you have to make even more of an effort. Look at your overall interaction with your kids each day. Ask, “Did my kids enjoy being around me?” That’s a tough one for all of us to ask. Was the day filled with snarls, biting comments (that we often disguise as “discipline”) or little interaction at all?
On #2, what will they pass down by saying, “I remember dad teaching, doing or saying…”. We can now store our entire lives on Facebook and hard drives, but do know that most things material are going to be either destroyed or lost as time passes. But guess what, oral history has been the data sharing method for 7,000+ years, and I don’t think that will change. We remember and share that had made a major impact on our lives. If your kids have nothing positive to hand down about you, go back and re-read the last paragraph…