This past weekend, my pastor did some meddling—as he’s been known to do—in my personal life. Yep, he had the audacity to teach a message pointed directly at me. I’m not sure the other congregants even needed to attend. He started the message saying, “I’ll say a name and you shout out what they’re known for.” At first, it was an easy exercise:
“Tom Hanks”…the crowd shouted “acting!”
“Beethoven” Even the little ones knew this one. “Music!”
“Peyton Manning” “Football!” most said. Although my answer, “Flopping in the playoffs” did bring up a few chuckles from those seated nearby.
Then my pastor turned the tables. He just HAD to get personal. He just had to go one step too far:
“You.” The crowd was mostly silent. How does one answer such a question? What am I known for?
In John 13, Jesus says
“By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.” –John 13:35 (NIV)
Just this week, musician/actor David Bowie passed away and social media was lit up with remembrances of who he was. “A great musician” some said. “Such a versatile actor” said another. “An all-around entertainer” another posted.
It got me wondering. If I were to die today, what would people say I was best known for? Undoubtedly some would say for my music. Maybe others would say I was a man who was absolutely in love with being a daddy: “He’s the guy who built a pirate ship in his backyard for his boys.” Still, others would say, “the most die-hard Cowboys fan I’ve ever known” or perhaps more pointedly, “I’ve never known anyone who hated the Denver Broncos so much!”
In a related tweet that a friend posted about me just yesterday, he said, “If you enjoy the rantings of a very angry football fan, follow my friend @timglennmusic on twitter.”
That’s how he knows me. If my pastor had shouted out the name, “Tim Glenn” next on the list, that friend would have likely said, “angry football fan.”
All of this is obviously not sitting well in my 49-year old stomach. Should I make it to 50, have I spent half a century being known for the wrong things? To some extent, you can’t control how people will remember you. Some will see me as that “guy that used to do the news.” Others will see me as nothing more than “the singer for that band, SofaKillers.” They remember you in the context of how they interacted with you.
But to a great extent, you DO have control over what you’re known for. By living it. By breathing it. And that’s what I intend to do. I don’t want to be known as the “Bronco hater” or the “angry football fan” (though it may be too late for some of you to see me as anything else.) But I want to start living my life being known for the things I want to be remembered for: loving my family, being crazy in love with my children, making music that people enjoy listening to, singing along to and perhaps even crafting lyrics that make people pause to think. I want to be known for my commitment to my job with a ministry that rescues children from poverty in Jesus’ name. I want to be known for living life and loving on people. I want to be known as a follower of Christ.
This is not a New Year’s resolution. This is a new “me” resolution. To be the person God created me to be, not the person Tim Glenn has been re-creating for the past five decades.
So thank you, pastor, for meddling. Just maybe, next week, talk about someone else, would ya?
What about you? How would people answer the question? “What are you known for?” And what can you do now to shape that answer in the future?