Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Record of Life


Every person was born and every person dies, what happens between birth and death is called life and life is being recorded and life will be remembered.

Every day we are writing our epitaph and choosing what our friends and family will say about us after we’re gone. Each decision shines a reflective light on what others will remember about us.

Some people make a great splash in life and others only a little ripple. However, each one of us will be remembered by someone for something we did or did not do, said or did not say.

First impressions are important but last impressions last.

Take the couple who meets, falls in love at first sight and gets married only later to separate and divorce over irreconcilable differences. Many times divorce and division of assets or custody battles over children create lasting impressions. First impressions often fall prey to last impressions. First impressions might be impressive but last impressions are the ones that will last.

What will others say about us and how will family and friends remember us after we’re gone. We will all be remembered … but for what?

It is a sad thing when the only record made of a man — the only evidence which we have that he ever lived at all is that he turned away from a friend, or forsook the right pathways of life. And yet there are many men of whom the only thing to be remembered of them is the last bad choice they made to do something selfish, hurtful or wrong. Last impressions trump first impressions. And believe me, memories matter.

This is a lesson God teaches us from the Word of God written by the Apostle Paul in the last few months of his life. Paul was in prison in Rome in AD 67 under Caesar Nero. The Roman Empire was crumbling and Nero was trying everything he could to stay in power including shifting the blame from himself to others, especially to Christians. Perhaps only a few weeks Paul was executed by order of Nero, this seasoned Apostle of the Gentiles writes the last words we have from him recorded in the book of 2 Timothy.

I have come to put special emphasis on the last words spoken by seasoned men and women of God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Especially in this case seeing Paul knew he was about to be executed and wanted to leave critical reflections and lasting instructions to give the Church guidance beyond his lifetime. The book of 2 Timothy is in many ways to be considered as the last will and testament of the Apostle Paul.

Life is being recorded. The question: “How will I be remembered?”

2 Timothy 1:15  This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Even though we have no other record of these two men is has been long believed by many that these two were early prominent supporters of the Apostle Paul and helped him build the Church in Ephesus. It is supposed that sometime afterwards they began to imagine they should have more say in matters and ultimately abandoned Paul’s leadership and used their influence to lead others to follow them. It is evident that these two were well known to have abandoned and deserted their father, family and friends and yet, no doubt enjoyed continued prominence and influence with others of the same mind.

Although we cannot know some things for sure it is nonetheless certain that at first impression these two men were followers and supporters of Paul only to leave a last impression, and therefore a lasting record, in fact the only record of their life at all, depicting them as men who made bad choices, abandoned a friend, withdrew support and led others astray by their own design. Had it been a common follower it would have but saddened but this particular point the Apostle makes in directly mentioning their names, leaves them a legacy beyond the common acquaintance.

Conversely, the next thought present in the mind of the Apostle Paul was of Onesiphorus. Again, Paul’s recognition and remembrance of Onesiphorus presents the only record we have of this man’s life. Note:

2 Timothy 1
16  The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain;
17  but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me.
18  The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day — and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.

Last impressions are lasting impressions … Good News! Each one of us still has the chance to make a last impression.

Perhaps you have not made the best choices or the best decisions in life or maybe it is only the last few days, weeks, months or years that have colored your record less than you want to be remembered for. Today you can change your record and begin a new life.
·        Zacchaeus did it …
·        Peter did it …
·        Jonah did it …
·        Rahab did it …
·        Bathsheba did it …
·        Namaan did it …
·        Mary Magdalene did it …
·        and so did the Apostle Paul …
·        You can do it too – You can turn things around and leave a lasting memory of yourself as one who did good, chose right, and lived well.

What does it take to turn over a new leaf and begin a new life?

Wash yourselves; cease to do evil; learn to do well … (Isaiah 1:16&17)

1.   Admit it …
2.   Quit it …

3.   Forget it!