LANGHORNE, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A. You hear from your stepmom that her youngest brother has just unexpectantly passed away. You never had the privilege of knowing him but you give your condolences because she means a whole lot to you and he was her brother. All you have is his name and that he lived in Wisconsin so you put the name in Google.com. Amazingly the obituary appears in front of you, from three different sources. At the bottom of one it tells you that you can go to the funeral home web site and leave a public or private condolence. When you find his page on that site it is complete with a recent photograph. While glancing at the picture you read what is written about this brother that you really never knew.
He was born on a certain date to a father and mother in a particular town in Iowa. He married a wonderful woman and had two children. He had graduated from a university with a degree in secondary education. He had taught remedial math for eighteen years until his retirement in 2007. He had been on the board of directors of a local civil organization. He loved his cats and his dog Zoe. He loved his wife and children enormously and he will be dearly missed. He is survived by his immediate family of course. There are also still living all four of his older sisters and brother who live in different parts of the country. He was the youngest. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, other relatives and many friends of course. He was preceded in death by his parents and there will be a memorial service and time of remembrance on a certain day at an appointed place. Terry Humiston was special to many folks and the memories that he leaves those still living are numerous and rich in content.
What does it mean to you when you turn to the book of Hebrews, the thirteenth chapter, the seventh verse, and you read these words, "Remember your leaders, those who taught you about God. Consider the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith." What do those words mean?
When I first learned this verse in the Bible, it was the summer of 1978. I was stationed with the military in what was then West Germany but I was visiting a very special place in Switzerland. Around the time I was first introduced to this verse two of my uncles passed away. They were the husbands of my mother's only two sisters. I knew that I needed to write each one of my aunts a letter to not only give them my condolences but also to share with them why my Uncle Frank and my Uncle Bennet were very special to me. They were both strong Christian family men, rich in character and wisdom, who had taught me many things. As I wrote those letters the verse in Hebrews came alive and it forever changed the way I look at life.
Now, it is easy for the normal student of the Bible to say that because both of my uncles were strong Christian men, that yes they had taught me about God with their lives and thus they were worthy of imitation. Without question I should imitate their faith. But what about those verses in Genesis that directly infer that ALL men (and women) are created in the image of God? We are all "image bearers," and the way I was taught this truth, it was also inferred that we are ALL image bearers of God, whether we consider ourselves to be "Christian" or not. We were all created in the image of God.
Let me be very careful here. I am not saying that there is "a little bit of God in all of us," and so right along with it we can more or less assume that we will go to Heaven when we die. I'm not saying that. What I am saying is... Let me stop there. This writing is becoming too technical, too deep, and that is not what I am trying to get across at this particular time.
What I am trying to say is this. Remember Your Leaders. What did you learn from them? Hearing about the passing of one of those leaders can definitely bring important memories to your heart and mind. But don't wait until their death to imitate what you have learned from them. Imitate them now while they are still living. It is the best thank you that you can ever give them. And what about your legacy? What will those that you taught in some way about God, about what is right and true and honorable...what will they remember about you? How will they imitate Your faith?
Just a thought for today :-)