A Better Story: Haiti, Granddad and Beyond

So, we’ve been back from Haiti for a couple weeks, and most of us are back in our daily routine, living life in the ATX.  I love this place, and as much as I really would love to live in a place like Chicago or the North East, for now, I have no doubt that Austin is MY CITY!  That being said, be it a place like Haiti, Chicago, North East, or Austin, I seem to have one driving thought in my life, “I want to tell a better story with my life…”

While I was in Haiti, as I stated in one of my Haiti blogs, I received word that my Grandfather was dying with cancer…within a few days of hearing the original news, his time frame had shrunk from 3 months to 3 days. Well, this morning, my Grandfather died.  The death of someone you love, really makes you reflect on your own life, your own work, your own journey.  The truth is, at the end of my journey, heck after I’m gone I want to have lived my story in such a way, that my great grandkids say, “hey, tell us the story about grandpa and grandma Hansen, and how they emptied their life for Jesus and others…”  – A Better Story…

My grandfather didn’t leave a dime behind him. He didn’t leave a physical inheritance, but he left a legacy, that will never end… He was a man who did two things: loved Jesus and his gospel and loved people, and he spent every breath doing that.  I am convinced that his life is the reason I am doing what I am doing today, serving shoulder to shoulder with great men like Brandon Hatmaker, Tray Pruet, Lamar Stockton, John Church, and Austin Evers.

I’m not convinced, that telling a better story with life, means ending everything you are doing to do something brand new – all though it may very well be that for some.  However, I am convinced we begin to tell a better story when we begin to make sure that everything we are doing is for Jesus and his gospel, and people.  It is the only thing that will out live us, it is the only thing that will echo into eternity, in fact, according to Solomon, to spend our lives on anything else is completely and utterly meaningless!

I don’t believe it is happen stance that Sarah and I have been wrestling with the question of “a better story“; that Haiti has made the impact it made; that we are friends with other’s wrestling with the same question; that I am in love with the people of ANC who are a people committed to a better story; that my friends the Hatmaker’s are going through what they are going through – not because of avoiding a Kingdom life, but rather for embracing it deeply; that my grandfather has passed… and that I am getting ready to start studying the book of Ecclesiastes, the book warning us that a better story, is the life lived for eternity, and anything else is simply meaningless… May this time make us all stronger, and at the end of it all, no matter what we do in life, may we, like Paul, and like my Grandfather, be able to say:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.


6 thoughts on “A Better Story: Haiti, Granddad and Beyond

  1. Sorry to hear about your Granddad. He seemed like such a generous man. Praying the Lord comfort all of your family in his absence while being congruently happy for him that he gets to be in His presence. May his life here on earth continue to inspire others to live a better story.

  2. Oh Matthew….you read my heart! The last couple weeks I have been quoting that verse over and over again. And when we found out about The Hatmakers and Ben, I continued quoting that verse. That verse is what is engraved on my mom’s headstone….that verse is something I cling to every time I think things are tough….that verse is what reminds me that even when my mom was too sick to stand, she still fought the fight and NEVER lost her faith, and now she stands before God hearing that she is a “good and faithful servant.” Oh to be like her, and your grandfather, and all those that have gone before us fighting the fight.

  3. Matthew, very sorry to hear of your loss, I can relate well to the circumstances surrounding the passing of your Grandfather. I think there are men of caliber that God on purpose allows to impart to us. May it be that you are that man for your children, as your grandfather was to you. I find it graceful how God measures the worth of a man so very differently than man does;not in monetary wealth, but of living/relational wealth. The legacy that we are writing with our lives will one day be all be value. Paul said we are writing a gospel with our lives, imparted to those whom God brings into our “spiritual zone” so to speak. I think yours speaks volumes,as you feel your GF did. God bless you and Sarah during this time.

  4. I had a person like your grandfather in my life… a dear relative who was like a grandmother to me… and her last three words to me, essentially choked out as she held a breathing tube away from her throat, were, “I love you.” She died later that day. That came at a time that God was putting the Pruets, ANC, and “The Reason for God” in my life, but that did as much as anything to bring me back to faith. Until your dying breath… definitely something to aspire to.

  5. Pingback: Faves of 2011 « Emmaus Life

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