Leaving a legacy of faith
"And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, 'What is it, Lord?' And he said to him, 'Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God." (Acts 10:4)
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED FOR? On Memorial Day we remember Fallen Veterans and others who were dear to us. Memorial Day is a time for reflecting and honoring heroic actions of many who lived out their convictions and a day to demonstrate that their sacrifices were not in vain.
The Scriptures give various accounts of events worthy of memorialization down through the ages. The "good deed" of the woman who anointed Jesus "beforehand for the burial" (Mark 14:8) is one such account. Jesus stated her act would subsequently be "spoken of in memory of her" (Mark 14:9). Death, however, need not be the event that delivers lasting memorials. Cornelius, a centurion, a leader of leaders, and a soldier is memorialized in Scripture for his consistent prayers and good deeds. An angel spoke to Cornelius and said: "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God." The Spirit of God used Cornelius to intervene in the life of Peter the Apostle and to deliver the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-48). Cornelius' devout life and reverence for God influenced his entire household and left an enduring spiritual legacy for generations.
Conscientious leaders strive to establish a positive legacy, and when it is time to move on, they usually pass the function or office on in better condition than they received it. Cornelius was obviously a faithful soldier. He gave time and attention to the spiritual dimension of his life and for that his spiritual acts of prayer and good deeds were recognized by God. Similarly, the woman who anointed Jesus' head did so in spite of criticism. With determined conviction, she offered this unselfish act of service.
Cornelius did not set out to be remembered. He had the responsibility of leading soldiers and his family. His devotion to God was neither a hinderance nor an after thought; it was his habit to beseech God on behalf of others and to do what was in his power to assist. A focused leader and faithful believer, Cornelius seamlessly integrated his faith with his profession and availed himself for God's use. His characteristics as a "devout man" (Acts 10: 2) and his acts of prayer and giving alms pleased the Lord and are commemorated by Him. What about you? How are you consistently availing yourself for Christ's service?
Thoughts to Ponder:
- How would you like to be remembered by God...by others? What matters most to you, man's impression or God's?
- Are you responsive to the legitimate needs of others when approached for help (non-monetary matters)? How are you using your time, talent and treasures for Kingdom building? No faithful act is insignificant.
- How are you actively living out your faith? Do you encourage others to do likewise?