“We maybe here for a short while, gone tomorrow into oblivion or until the days come to take us away. But, in whatever part we play, be remembered as part of a legacy…of sharing dreams and changing humanity for the better. It’s that legacy that never dies”
In the last few days I have had a number of occasions to be with people who are doing many good things. Some work with children, others provide help when others need food, shelter and human contact, still others are spending time doing what they can to make sure that as many folks as possible live as full and rewarding lives as they can.
Yesterday I was with people in my service club who bring willing hearts and hands wherever help is needed. Over the past few years I have had the good fortune to spend time with many who are always there to help, they don’t get much recognition and few will ever get much more than a thank you from others and yet they often glow in the knowledge that they cared enough to do something for someone else.
Yesterday as I listened to testimonials from some of my fellow members I again realized that much of the good things that exist here in my community is the result of someone caring enough to do what needed to be done. I am at an age where many of my heroes have passed on and yet I remember that they are those who planted the trees, formed the helping organizations and in reality created the thriving community we have today. Their names may not be engraved in stone but their living monument exists in those who carry on their work in the same sprit.
You know we have a choice in our lives, we can let others provide for us and just go with the flow or we can jump in and do our part by contributing to the legacy we and others will leave for future generations.
Last month I was sent an article by author Jon Gordon that I think makes it clear what we can do as we leave our own stamp on our world. Here, in part is what he suggests we can do as we build our own legacy:
In “Training Camp” I wrote that every one of us is going to leave a legacy. It just depends on what kind. So what kind of legacy do you want to leave? I encourage you to think about it because knowing how you want to be remembered helps you decide how to live and work today. Consider the following ways to leave a legacy and then identify other legacies you can share.
A Legacy of Excellence
Saint Francis of Assisi said, “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless your preaching is your walking.” To leave a legacy of excellence, strive to be your best every day. As you strive for excellence you inspire excellence in others. You serve as a role model for your children, your friends and your colleagues. One person in pursuit of excellence raises the standards and behaviors of everyone around them. Your life is your greatest legacy and since you only have one life to give, give all you can.
A Legacy of Encouragement
You have a choice. You can lift others up or bring them down. Twenty years from now when people think of you what do you want them to remember? The way you encouraged them or discouraged them? Who will you encourage today? Be that person that someone will call five, ten or twenty years from now and say “Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
A Legacy of Purpose
People are most energized when they are using their strengths and talents for a purpose beyond themselves. To leave a legacy of purpose, make your life about something bigger than you. While you’re not going to live forever you can live on through the legacy you leave and the positive impact you make in the world.
The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
Do you know how many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?
a.. Charismatic: Only one. Hands already in the air.
b.. Pentecostal: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
c.. Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.
d.. Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.
e.. Baptists: At least fifteen. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.
f.. Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.
g.. Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.
h.. Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including candescent, fluorescent, three- way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
i.. Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.
j.. Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.
k.. Lutherans: None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.
l.. Amish: What’s a light bulb?
Why did the banks use all that space and money to construct so many teller stations, then never have more than two or three in use?
When Mary was pregnant, her 5 year old son, Billy, was utterly amazed, and a little bit disbelieving, that his sister was growing in his mom’s tummy. So one day when the baby was especially active, she asked Billy to place his tiny hands on her tummy to feel the baby kick. But when he did, the baby was suddenly still. “Oh, Billy, she must have decided to take a nap,” shrugged Mary. “A nap?” Billy marveled. “You mean there’s a bed in there too?”
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
Phoning a patient, the doctor says, “I have some bad news and some worse news. The bad news is that you have only 24 hours to live.”
“Gee, that IS bad news,” the patient replies. “What could possibly be worse, though?”
The doctor answers, “I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday.”
The only way to pass any test is to take the test.
TEACHER: John, how do you spell “crocodile”?
TEACHER: No, that’s wrong
JOHN: Maybe it’s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it!
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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