Death came knocking, and he was ready. The recent loss of my 91-year-old grandfather has given me reason to pause and reflect on the key ingredients for a life lived well.
For more than 91 years, my grandfather was an active, vibrant man. Growing up in the Depression put him in search of a better way of life. Hard work, determination and wit were the keys to his success. He epitomized what it means to be a self-made man. Despite his success, he was anything but selfish. He was a giver in every way.
It has been said that the true measure of a man is based on the impact he has on others. The impact my grandfather had on his family and friends was evident in recent days as person after person shared wisdom they had gained from his counsel. Story after story was told where he had made a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of those he met. I found it interesting that very few ever knew of the other’s experience, until now. His advice was private, personal and rarely without invitation.
My grandfather was a very rich man. Not necessarily because his hard work had paid off, but because his greatest riches weren’t measured in dollars, land or property. My grandfather enjoyed some of the richest friendships on Earth. If having at least one true friend is considered a blessing, then my grandfather was one of the most blessed men I know. He enjoyed many lifelong friendships.
Being a provider for his family was very important to my grandfather. As a little boy, he knew what it meant to be without. He worked hard to insure his kids would have what they needed. If he had any regrets, it was that his drive to provide didn’t always allow him as much time as he desired with those he loved. Nonetheless, his love and provision for his family continues today.
My grandfather was a good, honest, caring and successful family man and businessman. All of these are admirable traits, but without one key element, my grandfather would have missed the most critical component to success. What a shame to inherit the entire world, but to lose your soul.
My grandfather lived a great life according to the world’s standards. Without careful consideration, it would be easy to conclude that all of his success, hard work and good deeds earned him a place in Heaven. But according to the Bible, none of that matters in the end. What matters most is that my grandfather made the wisest decision of all when he accepted Christ as his Savior.
Sure, it was hard for the family to see my grandfather go. But for us, as Christians, it is never good-bye, but see you later. I praise the Lord we will see my grandfather again someday in Heaven. I hope to see you there, too! No measure of success will get you there, just total dependence and acceptance on our loving Savior, Jesus. When death comes knocking at your door, I pray you will be ready.