With the recent passing of Senator John McCain, we have seen and heard much about his life. While not everyone was a fan of the Arizona Republican, many people of various political persuasions describe him using words such as “hero,” “patriot,” “loving father,” and “friend.”

That got me thinking about the definition of a life well-lived. What is a person’s legacy?

Some people have buildings named after them. But when was the last time you walked into a building named after someone and gave a second thought to that person? The reality is, a few days after you’re buried, you will quickly fade from memory as people move on with their busy lives. There has to be more to a legacy than honors like that.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I think these are the things that really matter:

  • Tell people how much they mean to you now. Don’t wait to eulogize them at their funerals. Tell them immediately and deepen those relationships.
  • Invest in the eternal. In the end, it is not about material things you acquired, the power you possessed, or the indulgences you provided or enjoyed. People are eternal. Focus on spending quality time and building memories that will last.
  • Put others first. When McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he was offered an opportunity to be released from the “Hanoi Hilton” early because of his powerful connections. Instead of relieving his suffering, he said that, in accordance with international law, he wished for those who had been held the longest to be released first. As a result, he endured an additional four years of torture and separation from his loved ones. Life is not about you!
  • Leave conflict behind and move on. You can disagree about many things but still be friends. McCain asked some of his main political rivals – George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden – to speak at his memorial services. While they were competitors and often disagreed, their friendships transcended their differences.
  • Share the gospel. If you follow Christ, the most important thing you can do is tell as many people as you can about His love and gift of salvation. This is the true and only legacy that will last into eternity.

When my time comes – and it does for everyone – the words I most want to hear will be from my precious Lord and Savior: “Well done my good and faithful servant.” #DFWTechPB #FaithatWork

Jeff Blackwell is managing director of Information Technology Services at Deloitte Services. He is a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Technology Prayer Breakfast’s Merv Tarde Values in Leadership Circle. This year’s event will take place on Friday, Oct. 5. Please consider becoming a volunteer, a table host, or a corporate partner.