Have you done any work on your obituary recently? I don’t mean writing it ahead of time, as some people do, leaving humorous or poignant messages to be published upon their deaths. I’m talking about working on things that matter now. The way you live today will determine what your family will write about and talk about after you have died.
The way you live today will determine what your family will write about and talk about after you have died.
I’ve got a lot of living to do yet. I still have many dreams and goals for my life, my marriage, my family, and my work. But I am also aware that the years ahead of me are fewer than the ones behind me. So I need to be intentional about how I live in the time that remains. How will those you leave behind tell your story? When I leave this world, my story—like yours—will be told largely through 5 T’s. Consider them with me and see how your obituary is shaping up.
1. T is for Time.
There is no more significant single indicator of what is really important in our lives than what we give our time to. With time, we are all on an equal footing. We each have 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. How are you using that time?
Work is important, of course, but it’s not the only thing that matters. You’ve never heard of a man on his deathbed wishing he had spent more time at the office, have you? Rather, dying people talk about regretting not investing more time in relationships. So track your time for a week, noting how many hours and minutes you give to things like work, hobbies, social media, and television. The results may surprise you and prompt some adjustments.
2. T is for Talent.
Like many guys, I sometimes find myself comparing myself to others. How do I shape up compared to their professional statuses, their houses, their bank accounts? Comparing can cause discontentment. If I’m always focused on what someone else has instead of on what I’ve got, I’ll never be happy.
God created me uniquely with specific gifts. So I should not aim to be like someone else. I just need to be me. Am I exercising my gifts and abilities to their fullest extent? Am I seeking to develop them? And am I using them to benefit and bless others or just for personal gain, pleasure, and comfort? I can only have a life worth meaning if I give it away.
3. T is for Treasure.
Contrary to what some believe, God does not say that money is the root of all evil. He says the love of money is. Money in itself is neutral; it’s how we use it or let it use us that makes the difference. As a husband and father, I have a duty to be responsible financially, providing security and a future for the ones I love. But I also have a duty to be a good steward of the money that has been entrusted to me and my family.
Everything I have comes from God, ultimately. I know my net worth is not based on what’s in my bank account or on what I get, but rather on what I give—what I give of my time, talent, and treasure. I want to be generous with what I receive, giving wisely to those in need. I like what All Pro Dad NFL Spokesman Tony Dungy has to say regarding work and money.
4. T is for Title.
This is not about what may be on your business card or any letters you may have after your name. It’s more about the role or position you have been placed in.
Take a piece of paper and jot down a list of all the “hats” you wear. You may be surprised how many there are. You may be a husband, father, son, wife, mom, daughter, sibling, friend, neighbor, church member, coach, or mentor. Each of these positions has different responsibilities, obligations, and opportunities. Where do you need to step up your game?
5. T is for Testimony.
This is what you share with others by your words and actions. First is words. What are the things you talk about most with people: the weather, cars, clothes, money, hobbies, or portfolios? Or do you make it a point to go deeper, to speak about things that really matter—faith, truth, and love? Do you build others up? Do you give them hope for the future? What did I teach my kids?
Second is actions. Am I the real deal? Am I actually modeling with my actions the things I espouse with my lips? Do I “walk the talk?” Reflecting on these 5 T’s is helping me as I look ahead. They are helping me on the journey of life. They are helping me to finish strong. And they can help you, too.
Which of these 5 T’s do you most need to reevaluate in your life, in the days ahead? Please share your comments below.