We can participate in All Saints Day by remembering the wise people who’ve gone before you. Follow their example and become a role model for others.

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode, number 76. It’s our annual All Saints Day episode, which we’re starting for the first time here at our studios at One Podcast Plaza in New Berlin, Wisconsin.

Each year All Saints Day falls on November 1st where Christians around the world remember and honor those who have passed on to the next life. (We’re a few days past November 1st, but we can still participate in it.)

In the Roman Catholic tradition, in which I grew up, All Saints Day is a Holy Day that honors the canonized saints of the church by going to mass.

I’m not Catholic anymore, but I found that other Christian traditions have embraced this custom of honoring Godly people who have gone before us. However, the “saints” I’m talking about are not the people with celebrity status you find with Roman Catholic saints.

Whose a saint on All Saints Day?

The word “saint” is derived from a Greek verb (hagiazo [aJgiavzw]) whose basic meaning is “to set apart,” ” “sanctify, ” or “make holy.” Various forms of this term appear throughout the New Testament and simply refers to followers of Christ.

It had been decades since I even thought of All Saints Day, until one Sunday a few years ago when Janet and I and a few friends attended a Moravian Church service in northern Wisconsin. It happened to be on the Sunday closest to November 1st. We saw this congregation participate in All Saints Day.

  • Really small congregation, less than 50 people
  • Played ’90’s music……1890’s. Choir – hymnals
  • Pastor Dawn reminded the congregation it was All Saints Day and asked the congregation for the names of those from their congregation who had died in the past year.
  • People in the congregation talked briefly about each person, so did Pastor Dawn. They mentioned what they appreciated and admired about the deceased. I think all churches would be wise to do the same thing once a year. It brings people together around their shared roots. It creates community. It’s a lovely custom.
  • It was a delightful experience and got me thinking about the people in my life worth remembering for the example they set, or for the impact they had on my life.

I wonder the same for you, too. Who are the people you know who have died and who made a positive impact on you? Who, while they were still alive, made a difference in your life?

Here's an example

I’ll give you an example of a married couple who did that for me. It’s a brief story about my friends Bill and Dorothy Narwold. They died over 20 years ago. Here’s what I remember about them:

  • They were our parents' age and were just delightful people
  • They ran their home as a rooming house. Their boarders slept in rooms on the 2nd floor, while Bill and Dorothy had their bedroom in the basement.
  • Bill had a wide breadth of interest, e.g., genealogy
  • Invested in their children and grandchildren. Instilled values in them.
  • People loved being around them, especially Janet and me.
  • We learned how to live life by watching how they lived theirs.

Above all, they loved Jesus.

Several stories about them come to mind that reveal much about their character

1. When Bill got laid off from the largest bank in town, he followed my advice in looking for a new job.

2. When one of her kids was in middle school we had a significant problem with one of them and were beside ourselves with what to do. We got all kinds of advice from the school and friends, all of which made perfect sense, but none of which seemed right in our heart for our child. We went to Bill and Dorothy, these wise people so much older than we were.

Their advice, “You know your child much better than anyone else.” Trust your instincts and do what you think best, regardless of the advice others are giving you. So that’s what we did, and it turned out to be the best for our family, even though it was the opposite of what everyone else advised.

3. Third story. It was about their wonderful sense of humor

  • Vacation with them at a cabin in northern Wisconson
  • Canoe key missing
  • Bill grousing about the grandkids being so irresponsible as to lose
    the key
  • Several weeks later after returning home, I was sitting next to Dorothy in church. She leaned over and whispered to me, “I have something for you.” Then quietly pulls out of her purse, the missing canoe key, and then whispers again. “I found this in Bill’s jacket
    pocket. He had it all along, not any of the grandkids. I trust you will do something with it.
  • I had a plaque made. Then we organized a get-together and ceremony to give it to him with everyone around. The whole room burst into laughter, but Bill was the one who laughed the loudest at his misdeed.

The last story is something I wrote about in my book, THEM.

It’s a few paragraphs at the beginning of chapter 3. It's about the night he thanked me for the impact I had on his family, specifically his children.

If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.

Participate in All Saints Day like this: Remember people now with Jesus who impacted you in a positive way. And then try to live as they did, so that someday others will remember you with the same degree of fondness and appreciation.

What we can all do in response to today’s program?

While it’s good advice to always have a doctor younger than you. It’s even better advice to always have a friend a generation or two older than yourself.

All Saints Day is a reminder that one day it will be our turn to be talked about, to be remembered. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to be remembered like they do at the Moravian Church I mentioned? Where people get up and say a few kind words about what they recalled about you and the positive impact you had on their lives.

For us to participate in All Saints Day we need to prepare now to be the kind of person people will remember fondly after we’re gone. We need to become the role model for others that we wished we would have had ourselves.

This doesn’t happen by accident. And we can’t do it on our own strength. We need the power that only Jesus provides so we can live a life that impacts others for good. Asking God for that power is an important way we can respond to today’s episode.

As always, another thing you can do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. I’d like to know the saints in your life who have helped make you the person you are today.

You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email to john@caringforothers.org.

You might also want to check out episode 004,  “The Gift of Even Though.” It’s about another saint that’s deserving of honor on All Saints Day.

Also, two past blog posts relate to today's topic: “How to Age Well,” and “People to Remember.”


I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to consider how you should live in such a way, that after you’ve left this earth, people will remember you on All Saints Day. For in doing so, you’re bound to find the joy God intends for you in your relationships. After all, You Were Made for This.

Our Relationship Quote of the Week

Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there is still time.               ~ Dale Dauten

That’s all for today. See you next week. Goodbye for now.

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