Every magazine and newspaper does the same thing in early January. They publish the "Farewell" section listing all the notable people who died the previous year. The list for 2007 was interesting. There were politicians (Boris Yeltsin, Kurt Waldheim). There were entertainers (Luciano Pavarotti, Marcel Marceau, Beverly Sills). Writers were listed (Arthur Schlesinger, Sidney Sheldon, Norman Mailer), as were athletes (Phil Rizzuto, Bill Walsh). Then there were the people who were famous (Lady Bird Johnson, Evil Knievel, Anna Nicole Smith).

Of course, my hometown newspaper lists five to ten people every day who have died, plus another fifteen or so from surrounding areas. And I live in a fairly small city. I conducted several funerals this year, and attended several more.

So what is the connection between the people in the first paragraph and those in the second? They all died. Some were famous, some not; some were rich, some not; some were mourned, some probably not. But they did all die. And so will you and I. Maybe not this year, or next, but someday. This life does not last. Most of you recognized many names above, but your kids would not. One hundred years from now, few will be remembered. And one thousand years from now, only a few will have a footnote in some out dated book.

So what is the point of life? If we are all going to die, and no one will remember us, what is the point of fame, money, accomplishments? It is to give yourself to something that matters long after you are gone. It is to make a difference for ever. It is to know that your life means something. It is to know that someone will know you for a hundred, or a thousand, or a thousand, thousand years.

You will be known and remembered forever because your life made a difference.
If you want to know your life matters, I can tell you how. It will not surprise you to hear me say I have found meaning and purpose for my life that will last forever. And it has nothing to do with me.

Write me at steve@hopeforlife.org.

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