Yesterday, I participated in two special services honoring pastors who served our area for many years faithfully and well.

The first was a funeral for Eugene Condrey, who served our area for over 30 years at various churches. People from each of his churches were there along with fellow pastors and friends from the ministry.

At one point during the service a microphone was set out for anyone who wished to speak. Several told wonderful stories about Gene and his wife, Evelyn but there was one woman who said something, I will never forget.

She introduced herself as a supervisor for the nursing home where Gene lived the last few months of his life. She talked of the love and respect she felt for both Gene and Evelyn and said that Gene reminded her of her father. “He had such a kind smile,” she said. She found herself drawn to him somehow. When days became difficult she frequently visited his room just to be near him. She didn’t even know he was a minister at first, she just knew that he had a comforting glow about him that somehow helped her feel loved by God.

After she spoke, I found myself thinking: “That’s the way I hope people remember me. Someone with a comforting glow who helps you feel loved by God.”

The second special service was a retirement service for Randy Harlow who also served faithfully as a minister for over 30 years. Again, there were people from each of the churches he served. One person representing each church spoke of Randy and his ministry while he was their pastor.

One woman spoke with pride of the people who started attending their church after Randy arrived and how their lives were changed. She proudly proclaimed that their little church started several new ministries in the church and in the community during Randy’s time which are still active and meaningful today.

After she spoke, I found myself thinking: “That too is the way I hope people remember me. Someone who started several new ministries in the church and in the community which are still active and meaningful today.”

Two services that prompted me to think about a meaningful question: “If they were holding a retirement service or a funeral for me today: How would I be remembered?”

On Facebook, I discovered a picture of an older woman in a rocking chair holding a child. The caption: “One day you’ll be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.”

“One day you’ll be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.”

This advice is easier said than done but I learned two valuable lessons in the two services I attended and the memories shared.

These lessons could apply to any of us.

One: Work on our glow. To have a glow that helps anyone who comes in contact with you to feel loved by God. For me, the glow is a symbol of a life lived devoted to strengthening your relationship with God. The glow doesn’t come naturally to gifted people, the glow comes from a life lived in prayer and in studying the Bible, being a part of an active church community and in a life dedicated to helping others feel loved by God. It’s not something unique to ministers, it is actually more reflective of any life that is changed and molded by God. Anyone can have the glow… anyone.

Two: Start Something new. Whether it is a ministry or simply a gathering of people in your home. Start something new is a reminder that God has a purpose for each us. Our task is to discover what that purpose is and then seek to fulfill that purpose. Start something new is the challenge that gives our lives meaning and gives God an opportunity to work miracles.

Start something new isn’t a challenge just for ministers or for churches but for all of us. Start something new encourages stepping out of what is comfortable and doing something different. For each of us the answer is different, sometimes scary, always exciting.

One Scripture read at the funeral was from Galatians 5:22-23: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

The glow comes from using the fruit God has given to each of us in a way that is pleasing before God.

Start something new is a challenge to use the fruit wisely in way that will show God’s love to others.

You don’t have to be a pastor to have a glow or to start something new. All of us are given the gifts and the opportunity to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God and all of us have the opportunity to step away from the comfortable and start something new.

The real question: Do you have the courage to try and do you have the trust that God will be with you?

As I pray this morning, I’m praying that God will help us all with our glow and give each of us the courage and trust in God to start something new. I can think of no better way to honor God.

Paul said near the end of his ministry: “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

“One day you’ll be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.”