My students often tease me when I speak at school events because at some point during my talk, I always remind them that the only thing certain in life is that they will die one day. Even alumni that I encounter years after their time at ICS will smile during our conversation and say, “I know, Mr. Jack, one day I will die”. So why am I obsessed with reminding my students about their upcoming meeting with the Grim Reaper? Because knowing that a final day is coming (soon or not), I believe, will change the way we approach every new morning that God grants us.
My father once told me that you could measure a person’s life by attending his or her funeral. When you attend someone’s funeral, you do so because the deceased person has in one-way or another impacted your life. There are certain people that have transformed my life in such a way that I would fly across the world to attend their funeral. God used that person in a significant way to teach me, mold me, and love me. But most importantly, that person sacrificed his or her time to build a relationship with me. Sacrifice makes people significant. Are we willing to sacrifice our time to love, care, and build relationships with the people God has placed before us? When you die, will people be able to see the impact that you have made on them, so much so that they would travel around the world just to pay their final respects to you? Or will there be no one other than the “required” family members?
Last month, a young man that I coached, taught, and currently mentor, posted the following message on my Facebook page. I share this message not to boast, but instead, to encourage you in the relationships you are building. If we are not caring for the people God has placed in our lives, then we have to ask ourselves if we are truly glorifying His kingdom. We spend so much time praying, attending church, and studying the Bible that we often neglect the greatest commandment that separates Christianity from all other religions. “The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
From the semester he sent endless emails to bring me to ICS during my freshman year of high school, to the day I graduated my senior year, Jack Barr was an incredible role model, mentor, and coach that challenged my life in many different aspects. These past few days, halfway across the world, he has inspired and transformed my life all over again, through his first book, Failing at Fatherhood. This book will make you face the deepest and darkest parts of your life, as Coach Jack dives into the most difficult times of his life with 100% honesty. Thank you for making your life vulnerable so we can learn something, and look into those parts of our own lives. Thank you for telling me I needed to get my crap together when I needed to get my crap together, encouraging me when I needed to be encouraged, and always being my friend regardless of what you were going through in your own life. You are an amazing man that many of your students, players, and peers try to emulate! I want to encourage everybody, whether you know Jack Barr personally or not, to buy his book, Failing at Fatherhood. I believe there is something for everybody in this book! Thank you Coach Jack, I will always appreciate your input in my life. . .
I want the day I die to be a glorious celebration overflowing with people. Not because of a popularity contest to see how many people would come, but because I want to know that I have lived a life that put others first, before my own personal desires. As people stand around to say goodbye to me, there will be many stories shared about my failures, triumphs, and Southern accent. But I hope one major theme is constant in their stories. That Jack Barr Jr. took the time to build relationships because he loved his neighbor as he loved himself.
~ If we are not living that commandment, then we are living a great injustice to the title that our Heavenly Father gave us as true followers of Christ. ~
God Bless All,
Jack Barr, Author