If you had to choose three words to live by, what would you choose?

If people had to choose 3 words – and only 3 words - to describe you, what would they choose?

Determined? Bull headed? Gentle? Loyal? Big talker? Good listener? Sweet? Kind? Generous? Stingy?

Describe yourself in three words – not much more than that will be on your marker in a cemetery. I think I’d like to be remembered as one with the same epitaph as a woman in Texas whose marker said, “She did the best she could.” It’s more than three words, I know. But then I’ve always been a big talker.

As a youngster three words that rattled around in my head were faith, hope and charity

Once upon a time a popular song began with the words “faith, hope and charity = that’s the way to live successfully. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Just be real good today. The Lord is right beside you and He’ll guide you all the way. So – have faith, hope and charity, that’s the way to live successfully!”

It’s a beautiful thought, isn’t it? Just three words – Have faith, hope and charity and live successfully.

I Corinthians 13 is often called the love chapter because it talks about the gift of love. This is a chapter that is often read at weddings as people reflect on the past and the future. Some scholars say this chapter is describing the love of God for us people and therefore the standards are high. But as someone said, “Aim high. Reach for the stars and you may touch the sky.” Or as comedian Phyllis Diller said, “Aim high and you won’t shoot your foot off.” And those are good things.

What’s really important? What makes a life a good one? Is it being a polished speaker? Is it doing impressive works? Is it getting our own way? Or is it other things?

We can all pick the winning answers.

• Be patient, kind, humble and mature.

• Have faith, hope and charity – because that’s the way to live successfully!

– Revs. Tom and Theresa Martin are co-pastors at First Presbyterian Church

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