"Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).

Archived Devotionals

August 17, 2020

Solomon Says

My Dear Friend,

      Solomon said, "The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot" (Proverbs 10:7). This wisdom saying is concerned with the legacy of our lives, or how we are remembered and how this “memory” will influence others.

     Several modern translations and paraphrases help us better understand this biblical maxim: “The memory of the righteous is blessed” (NAS) and “is a blessing” (ESV). Or, “a good and honest life is a blessed memorial” (The Message). Or, “Good people will be remembered as a blessing, but evil people will soon be forgotten” (NCV). Let's go deeper.

     If we live right—a life filled with just, godly, loving deeds—God will "bless," or preserve, the memory of our lives. He will prompt fond recollections (and, in high-profile cases, biographies) and use them to bless others when they consider what we were and how we lived. Thus, death will not be the end of us.

     Though silenced in this world, our lives will continue speaking from the next, as Hebrews says of righteous Abel: "He being dead yet speaketh" (Hebrews 11:4). Or, "Though Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith" (NLT). Like Abel's, our faith-filled words, ways, and actions will live on and bear fruit after we pass, continuing to influence or draw others to live a “blessed” life of right living springing from right relationship and personal fellowship with the righteous One, Jesus.

     If, however, we live wickedly—a life not rightly related to the righteous One but marked instead by consistently unfair, sinful, selfish and inconsiderate speech and actions—God will not bless the memory of our lives. Rather than ripen into the sweet fruit of honorable memories, our lives will “rot,” withering away in others' memories until we are completely forgotten. Thus, death will be the end of us. Our lives will leave no legacy worth remembering and following. Death will silence us in this world and our unworthy living will not allow us to speak from the next.

     Matthew Henry identifies God as the One who honors the memory of the righteous and cites a Jewish custom as an illustration: "'Let the memory of the just be blessed,' so the Jews read it, and observe it as a precept, not naming an eminently just man that is dead without adding, 'Let his memory be blessed.'" The Bible amens this.

     By God's design, the Bible repeatedly showcases good lives for us to remember and "bless" with our commendations and praises.

     For example, I think of Joseph's life - and am inspired to be faithful in great adversity and humble when honored. I think of David's life - and am moved to sing and worship the Lord with my bodily harp (larynx) and musical harp (piano). I think of Mordecai - and am stirred to not honor the wicked who are harming God's people nor fail to challenge the righteous who are stepping back from helping God's people. I think of Paul - and am ashamed to complain about my much smaller thorns, crosses, and storms. Church history has also enshrined many memorable lives.

     I think of Martin Luther - and am inspired to stand with God's Word no matter how many or powerful they are who stand against it. I think of William Carey or Hudson Taylor - and am given fresh inspiration to persevere in my divine calling even when for long periods the fruits of my labors are withheld and success seems increasingly impossible. But I have other "memories of the just" closer to home.

     I think of a dear brother in Christ very close to me who passed into Jesus' presence just a few years ago, John J. (Jack) McHugh, Jr. Jack was loving, gracious, skilled and diligent in his work, full of integrity, an able teacher and, above all, committed to staying close to Jesus and fulfilling his calling - though he had a substantial cross to bear daily which Christ, in His higher wisdom, never removed.

     Every time I think of Jack, I'm blessed - and stirred to draw closer to Christ, work steadier in my calling, and bear my cross with a willing heart . . . until Jesus comes or I pass.

     You have your own "Jacks," whose memories goad you to a higher walk in your lowest moments. So, Solomon says, receive the ministry of their memory and see to it that you live in such a way that your memory also becomes ministerial one day.

     Here is strong motivation for living right, loving right, serving right, suffering right . . . and leaving right.


Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261