Cheeley’s celebration of life. Betty and Herb (or AKA “Larry” to Minnesotans) created a legacy through their four children’s lives, which grew with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Betty influenced the lives of her students, too. Several former first-grade students said that Betty’s guidance helped shape the rest of their lives—quite a legacy, since when she passed at age 91, those former students would have been elderly themselves! It was said that her calendar was full of obligations, visits, volunteer work. Surely, she impacted each of their lives, also. But, how?
Vickie Johnson’s memorial had the similar eight pews full to overflowing of the legacy she and Ray created just within their own family. The remaining pews were filled with former employees, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, admirers. The legacy of a life well-lived were evident. But, what was that legacy?
I’ve heard the phrase (and perhaps used it myself a time or two), “There’s no instruction manual for how to live a life.” However, I think that’s incorrect; there is an excellent one: the Bible. So, what did Betty, Vickie, Bill Hjort, Larry Strobel, and others have in common that created such a rich legacy? I believe it wasn’t how many children they created, it’s that they demonstrated a life lived in the fruit of the Spirit that affected those children and people they encountered.
In the Bible, Paul was frustrated that the Galatians had lost their vision of salvation by faith in Jesus alone and that they had added the need for human effort in order to receive salvation. Paul redirected them to remember that the Holy Spirit lives inside each believer. As we give the Spirit more control in our lives, He shapes us and grows us into His likeness. Then, as the fruit of the Spirit grows within us, our character becomes more like Christ’s.
Betty was described as “being a Christian.” She was loving, joyful, calm, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. She modeled a life where people could see Christ through her. Pastor Neal Nybo has repeatedly preached that when we act in a way where people can see Christ in us, they will want to come be a part of us. That is probably why people were so drawn to Betty, Vickie, Bill, Larry, and others like them. While living their lives, one could see that Christ lived within them.
If the only legacy that we leave behind is that people are drawn to want to live a life modeled after Christ, could we leave behind a better legacy than that?
Your friend in Christ (who is trying to live that life),
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.