Hermanson tells a short story of his daughter and son-in-law, who were killed in a tragic runaway-truck accident in 1995. The young couple, Steve and Anne Duke, left behind a legacy that was worthy enough to belong in the first few pages of this best-selling book. However, if you try to Google search their names, or Jim Hermanson, you won't find them. Why? Because they were just ordinary people like you and me.
Hermanson writes of the day when he and his wife had to dismantle their deceased daughter's home. He tells of how simply and clean they lived and that their home and belongings reflected their lives. They found Bible verses taped on the bathroom mirror, various journals and bible studies that were underlined, written in and well worn, and even found 7 copies of Josh McDowell's book. Everything in this young couple's lives pointed to a complete dedication to serving their Lord.
A highway-patrolman who had been at the scene of the accident that killed Steve and Anne duke commented that, though the whole car had been burned, Anne's journal and Steve's Bible were tossed to the side of the road and found intact. The patrolman flipped through the journal and was touched by short passages of a happy life, of love for family and friends, and of treasured and memorized scriptures.
Reading this story and pondering on it for a few days got me thinking: 'What if my husband and I were to die today and our families had to come into our home and dismantle it? What would they find? How would they be affected by things they might find or read? What if friends or even total strangers came in contact with my belongings?'
I have to admit, I was embarrassed just imagining it. We found that, though we have dedicated ourselves to serving Christ, we haven't given Him reign in all areas. We had secret hiding places and dusty corners, both physical and non, where things were kept that we never thought would be seen. But Jesus already knew they were there...and if something tragic happened that someone else would dig into our lives, it would be found out. We had some cleaning to do.
Now, if we died today and someone came to clean tomorrow, they might find scraps of quilting fabric, cat toys and an occasional dust bunny in the corners and under the bed (maybe a spider or two...). I can only hope that, even in death, my life would impact and touch someone in a positive manner that might lead them to better themselves or seek Christ for a new life.
What if you died today and I came over to your house tomorrow to help clean it out? What if I read your journal or notes written on your kitchen tablet? What kind of books and movies might I find in your library? Would I be surprised if I dug through your drawers and papers? Would your home and belongings reflect a life of squander and selfishness? Would it reveal how poor and simple you lived so as to save your money and serve others? What might I say at your memorial service? Will I have anything good to say about you?
So many things to think about. Whether you like it or not, people will judge you by how you lived, and they are far more severe after you are gone. People will also be affected by how you live (whether they want to or not), in the present and after your death. Take just a few moments today to think about these ideas I've handed to you. Maybe you even want to take a look around your house with this in mind. You might be a little surprised to find a few dusty bibles laying around.