Thursday, October 27, 2016

What's Your Word?

To You:

Several years ago, I was sitting in a Sunday School class listening to my father-in-law teach.  He asked us how we wanted to be remembered when we died.  How would we measure our success?  What word did we hope would be used to describe us by those who knew us?

It's not a new question.  On that Sunday afternoon, we went around the class and a few people gave their answers.  I have been in many classes over many years, but I clearly remember this one as my father-in-law gave his answer.  What word did he want to describe him?


Charity is more than giving alms or offering service.  It is a way of being.  It is a trait that fills your inside and shows itself in word and action on the outside.  It shows itself in kindness offered to a stranger and quiet acts of goodness.  It shows itself in patience and forgiveness.  It shows itself in humility.

Last year my wonderful father-in-law passed away.  With his passing, members of his community began telling stories.  "Your dad paid for my piano lessons."  "One night I heard a noise in the garage.  I knew I hadn't locked it and wondered if it was an animal or even a burglar.  I went down to the garage and found your dad filling my freezer with fresh fish."  "Your dad did all my dental work for free."  "Your dad donated the land that church was built on."  "Your dad made everyone feel like he was their best friend."  The examples went on and on.  The one word that came up over and over?  Charity.  Dad had chosen his word wisely and then lived it.

He was far less concerned about how much money was in his bank account or what his car looked like than he was about helping someone in need.  He lived humbly, never setting himself up as a standard, although he lived a life worth emulating.  He didn't care what religion you were or weren't, he loved you without guile. 

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not inself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 

Charity never faileth (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)."

I feel it was a privilege for me to know this great man and see how his daily choices created layer upon layer of goodness.  These seemingly little choices included what he said, and in his case often what he did not say, and how he spent his resources like time and money. 

I am not saying Dad was perfect.  Nobody is.  I am saying that what he lacked was overshadowed by who he was.  He found a way to live so that he would be remembered the way he hoped to be; remembered by the one

I know I am far from where I could be.  I still lose patience with my children and am often inconsiderate.  My list of flaws is not short.  However, reflecting on the lives of my father-in-law, other people I admire, and especially Jesus Christ, helps me to see a more clear path for who I want to become.  As I consider who that person is, I continually come back to the same word my father-in-law chose.  There are a lot of admirable qualities, but if I "have not charity, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2)." 

What is your word?  How do you want to be remembered?  Think on that.  Then, live it. 

Love, Marielle

Does seeing examples of charity inspire you?  Who have you learned from? What is your word?  I would love to hear about it all from you.  Please share in the comments.

What a blessing for me to join this incredible family.  I could just have easily written about any one of them  And I just might do that someday!  Thanks for choosing me Babe!

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