I recently got to visit with my younger brother during a family gathering, and when it came time to depart, I was struck with the notion to share a meaningful farewell. As the older brother, I felt this urge to impart some sort of stirring wisdom or rare bit of knowledge to my sibling. This isn’t always the case, but on this occasion I wanted to give him a piece of advice that would benefit him as he faced life’s challenges, and so I thought as hard as I could and came up with the deeply profound phrase, “Do good in school.” Fortunately for me, I will have many more occasions in which I can attempt to redeem myself.
Making an Impression for the Kingdom
As a man, I look at the time that I get to spend with guys who are younger than I as an opportunity to make an impression for the kingdom. More often however, I have had the opportunity to witness several men older than I live out a picture of Godly manhood, and it has greatly challenged who I am and who I long to be. Some of the greatest role models that I have had have been men who are willing to speak the Word of God in to my life.
If you look at some of the final words of David, you get to see a great example of a man who took full advantage of his opportunity to make sure the standard was set.
“As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, ‘I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn.’”
1 Kings 2:1-3
Wow. Imagine hearing those words from someone you admired. David really nails it. He utilizes some of his final breaths in order to remind his son, who would be king after him, of probably the most important things that he ever taught him. It makes you think about what you would say to those who look up to you if today was your last day.
Leading a Generation Today
I have said all that to say this: you and I are able to leave something far more important than just last words with those under our influence. If David had not lived a life worthy of those words, then it would not have matter when he got around to saying them. Everyday, you and I are given an incredible chance to be a walking, talking, breathing image of Christ to those who would look up to us, as well as to everyone else. You might say, “I like the idea of letting others see Jesus in me through my actions, but I don’t know what I think about speaking out.” It’s true that Jesus lived a life of actions, but He also never quit speaking God’s Word to those who would hear Him. The greatest wisdom you could ever impart is not something you have to come up with on your own, it’s already written down in the Word of God.
For men, that sometimes means encouraging the younger generation in a Godly way to “Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.” But it doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman because we are all called to lead the next generation to the throne of grace. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. David did not live a perfect life, but he understood the importance of repentance, and therefore he was able to boldly say at the end of his life, “Walk in His ways.” What will you say when you are faced with giving your last words? More importantly, what will you say today?