Friday, September 02, 2011

The Dash

Jasper Speaks

Recently I visited my grandmother’s grave. She passed away in 1995 and I don’t think I have been back to her grave since about a year after that. The other day I was drawn back to her final earthly resting place. I struggled to find her headstone in the midsts of so many. I remembered a landmark that her grave was near but there were so many stones it took me about ten minutes to locate hers.

When I found it, I looked down and was flooded with memories. I remembered that my grandmother was a devoted, godly woman. She served him with her whole being and loved him with her whole heart. She reflected Christ in all she said and did. I know I was blessed to have her example. I recalled my last words to her at the hospital the night before she went to be with her Lord. I took her hand in mine and simply said, “Thank you for showing me Jesus”.

I stood there for a moment and could hear her sweet voice in my mind. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for her legacy. As I looked around the cemetary it was a certain reminder of what is left of us all when our lives come to an end. I looked back to her grave and began to wonder about my own legacy. I noticed something on her headstone. It read Rosalie E. Baugh November 1909 - January 1996. She had never had much of material things in this life. In 1909, her birth didn’t make headlines. In 1996, neither did her death. What struck me was that even more important than the 1909 or the 1996 was the -. The dash in the middle of those dates was what was most important in my Grandmother’s life. What she did in those years between birth and death is what remains. She instilled a fear and love of God in her children, grandchildren, other family and friends. I am a product of the great use of her “dash”.

The Bible says in Psalm 90, “Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away.” Life is fleeting. I want to make the most of mine. I want to be sure that people know that Christ  is the most important thing in my life. I want to leave a godly legacy. That day at the cemetary, I started to ponder how I can do that.

Christ said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come”. 

I think leaving a godly legacy means that I need to bring good news to the poor. I need to tell those who are separated from God about His redemptive plan that can restore them to a right relationship with the creator. I need to not only tell others that God loves them but I need to show them. I need to be a walking example that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. Like Jesus, I need to help people see that they matter to God. I need to take the gift of life with which God has blessed me and bless others. I need to put action to my words. I need to make my dash matter.

My prayer is not only for my own legacy but for yours as well. I pray that each of us will take a long moment to contemplate our dash. I pray that we will be men and women whose legacy will be that we reflected Christ; that we told the captives that they can be free; that we loved the unlovable and showed them their worth in Christ; that we helped others see the one hope we all can have.

I am praying that my dash matters. I am praying that my dash is full of difference. I pray that my dash will hold my legacy and that my legacy will honor my God. I am praying yours will too.

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Jasper Speaks:

I have a box in my office. It is one of those picture boxes where you can store tons of printed pictures if you are more organized than I. In my box are notes. Not notes from classes or reminders to myself to buy an anniversary present for my wife. They are notes from people, mostly students or parents of students that I have been given through the years. When I am feeling like I am not making much of a difference, I pull this out and am reminded of the privilege of impact that God has let me have.

This week I got a 2011 version of a note, a text message from a college student. It said:

"I just wanted to thank you for being such a great Christian example. It's encouraging to watch you on your walk with God."

It was a pretty simple message but one that encouraged me to keep on. So, I encourage you to get a note box of your own. On those days you are asking yourself, "Why do I keep doing this" you will be reminded that God is using you, one heart at a time.