I’m at the final Awaken attack before we start tour next month; during large group time we were asked the question: ‘what one word or phrase would you want to be remembered by after you die?’ It may be something you already feel you’ve achieved, or something you strive for. After you answer the question, three others from the group (whoever feels moved) respond, affirming you, or challenging you, in how they’ve perceived your eulogy in your life already.
While I’ve many ideas of individual particulars for which I wish to be remembered, narrowing those down into one single word proved difficult. The word that came to mind, though, was “minister.”
“Minister” could refer to the potential clerical collar I may pursue someday; it could refer to my ministry in musical leadership with various praise groups; it could even refer to the ministry I see in my filmmaking.
“Minister” could mean so many things, but my primary focus is on people: I want to be remembered for putting friends above work, for caring, for taking note when someone’s having a bad day and then taking time to listen or write them a card. I want to be remembered as someone who gave of himself because it was the right thing to do (as one small example: giving/lending money to a friend, not because I have to, not because they expected me to, but because I wanted to, because in my mind that’s just what needed to happen). I want to strive to go above and beyond societal expectations, and I refuse to lower my expectations just because society doesn’t place as high a value on this aspect of caring.
Lastly, I want to be the friend who shows up. Showing up, in my mind, is so much more important that anything else you can do. My favorite example is in the book of Job. Everyone harps on Job’s friends for unjustly accusing Job (and rightly so, they were most definitely in the wrong); but what’s rarely noted is what they did right: they showed up. In fact, the story says they sat with him in silence for an entire week! Even if there aren’t words to be said, even if there’s no action to be done, showing up, in my mind, remains the most powerful form of ministry there is.
Do I think Job ever really existed? No, of course not, but the moral of that story remains powerful, and, in my life, persuasive.