Thursday, October 6, 2011

Measure of a Man

No doubt you can guess which public figure to which I am referring when I say that over the past eighteen hours or so media outlets have been flooded with stories of one man who passed away. One CEO, one business figure. I've seen headlines saying that this man changed my life by his efforts in his business. I've seen numerous "inspirational" quotes regarding him. But, sadly all that he's been measured by is his success financially, technologically, and in the field of business. Is this the measure of a man?

I'm so saddened that at the close of a life, all we can do is thank him for our toys & our toy stories. Is this the legacy you wish to leave?

I know of a man whom many don't remember twelve years after his death. He was a quiet man, and it was rare to get him to talk to you much about anything. His greatest claim to fame is an 8x10 picture hanging in the halls of his high school commemorating his talent as an athlete.

He spent most of his life in sin and rejecting God, but in May of 1999 he was diagnosed with cancer. This changed everything. This quiet man came to know the Lord, personally, deeply. He spent the next few months going from doctor to doctor seeking treatment. Growing weaker, but always determined and in good spirits. He also spent those months telling those he loved that he had changed. That when he died he would be with the Savior & he wanted them to join him in Eternity!

In December of 1999 he was hospitalized, and informed that he would go soon. He made a list of literally everyone he knew & asked family members to call them to see him that he might have one last opportunity to tell them about his Savior. The cancer choked his vocal chords but he still witnessed threw a strangled whisper. He was taking unimaginable amounts of morphine, and though he was delusional, seeing a dog in his hospital room, he witnessed.

Many of his friends and loved ones stayed near him night and day in his hospital room. In the middle of one night a faint crying was heard. It was an old friend of his, and this crying woke the young man's wife. She told her pastor's wife who came into the room that the friend wanted to be saved. The pastor's wife pulled out a Bible & a gospel tract. She sat with him & showed him how to know that he would see his friend again in Eternity. That man bowed his head at the bed of his dying friend and asked the Lord to save his soul, and to be His king. When the friend said "Amen," the young man gave up his fight, and breathed his last.

If you walked into that hospital room at that moment you could see tears of joy & tears of sorrow mingled together among the family & friends. And, on the bed laid the lifeless body of a man who had once rejected Christ, now with Him. Beside that body lay a Bible & a gospel tract. His old legacy might have been an 8x10 photo of teenage athlete, but his new one was souls forever saved.

I imagine there are not many that still think of that young man very often, it was a long time ago, but I do. I remember his legacy. I understand that he could not be measured in athletic records that would be broken, or technology that will eventually be obsolete, but in the lives he effected for the Savior! In the things that are eternal, souls saved, hearts changed!

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" - Matthew 6:19-20

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14

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