I heard someone say the other day, “We’re all gonna die, be buried, and be turned into dust and in a couple generations or more most of us won’t even be remembered.” It sort of bummed me out. It’s not like it’s never occurred to me, but putting it like that depressed me a little.
I suppose it’s ego that makes me want to be remembered a hundred years from now (I’d be wiling to settle for fifty! Do I hear twenty?) Honestly, I’m not fishing for compliments here. I get tons of affirmation from friends and family, not to mention daily encouragement from the Spirit. But what this guy said gave me a dose of reality––not simply about the length of my life on earth but the longevity of its impact.
I have always felt a profound responsibility to do the best I can to invest myself in others, especially in the next generation. I know that when we make a difference in one or two people, those one or two might do the same with another one or two. The multiplied impact over generations can be staggering. It’s the proverbial “Butterfly Effect.”
But to be honest, picturing myself as a butterfly flapping its wings in the vast universe didn’t do the trick to dissipate the cloud descending on me. It bothered me to be forgotten after a generation, if not an hour after my funeral. (Again: Not a fishing expedition for compliments.)
Then I came across this verse:
“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.” (Acts 13:36)
The actual experience of nearing my own expiration date wasn’t what saddened me the other day, but the fact that my contribution to the world may not be what it should have been. But “serving God’s purpose in my own generation” is all I can ask for. And when I’ve done that, then it’s time to fall asleep. And even though my body will rot in the ground (or in the sea) I will have played my part, even if was a bit part.
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly wrote:
“God calls each of us to a particular generation with its own unique challenges, opportunities, and possibilities. This generation is the stage on which he has called us to play a part in his story of redemption, with a mind toward what it will leave for the coming generation.”
Given the fact that I’m still breathing, I must still have a part to play, however large or small. But when my character is written out of the story, I’ll be glad to get off the stage and let others play their part!