Who Will Remember You?
I hope you’ve made good friends here at UCSD. Even though there are people all around, most of them your age, a college campus can be a lonely place. It is difficult to make it through college, and life in general, without friends. I’m sure you’re enjoying, building up, and working on the friendships you have developed in college.
But college life is not going to last forever. You will have to move on to the next phase of your life. Do you sometimes wonder what will happen to your friendships once you leave this place? How many of your friends will keep in touch with you and for how long? Do you sometimes wonder who will remember you?
Some of you may go on to do great things and have buildings or organizations named after you. Will it help people to remember you the way you want to be remembered? How well do you know all the individuals whose names these campus buildings bear? From the perspective of history, most of us may be no more than a number, an insignificant blip that's here and gone before anyone even notices.
Shakespeare said, "Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/ Signifying nothing" (Macbeth). I wish that were not true, and we lived on in the memories of our loved ones forever. But people eventually move on, and they must. As they do, the vivid colors of their memories fade away.
As someone said, “Death is not a period that ends this great sentence of life, but a comma....” The Bible says, “...it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27); “many... who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
So then, the real question is how we will be remembered by God, the Judge. Though the line between fame and notoriety is getting more blurred, there will be no such blurring before the judgment seat of God. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
There are two ways to stand our trial before God: 1) alone with our own merits and demerits to face the scrutiny of an omniscient God; 2) in Jesus Christ with His merits. Jesus promised, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life" (John 5:24). He fulfilled this promise by fully paying the penalty of our sin with His life: "he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5). He lived a life of perfect goodness on our behalf: "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). When we stand with Christ, God assures us: "I will forgive [your] iniquity, and I will remember [your] sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).
When we trust in Jesus Christ, we are brought into a new relationship with God immediately. God adopts us as His children and pledges His eternal love to us: "Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you" (Isaiah 49:15). He will protect and cherish us as the very apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).
Who will remember you once you leave this place? How will you be remembered? In the end, only one Person's estimation matters enough for all eternity. Are you right with God? There's only one way. Put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Representative and follow Him.