Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Leaving a Legacy

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 11:39-12:3 NIV)

Dictionary.com defines legacy as, “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.”  Now before you delete this because only old geezers like me use words like legacy, regardless of your age, understand that all of us function in roles of givers and receivers of legacies—good and bad.  As children, we are given a legacy by our parents and grandparents of what it means to be an adult, a man, a woman, a father, a mother.  As students, we may receive a legacy of loving (or hating!) a subject (e.g., history, literature) by a high school teacher or college professor.  Legacy is about passing along something to another, usually younger than us that will then be taken, lived out, and further passed along.   

As you are reading, you may be thinking about someone who left for you some type of legacy.  What I want you to do today is think about the legacy you are passing along to others.  Even if you are as young as a college student, you have the opportunity not only to receive a legacy from a professor or campus minister, but from an older student.  And you also have the opportunity to leave a legacy with someone younger. And, as I said earlier, it can be good or bad.  

What the “ancients” handed down to the 1st Century followers of Jesus was a legacy of faith and perseverance.  They didn’t always know or understand what God was up to, but they were always faithful; they never turned away from the faith.  And their lives were shaped and molded by their love for the Lord.  And that legacy was passed along.

Legacies are built over time, one decision, one action, built on top of another over time.  And the danger is we fail over and over to make the right decisions and leave a poor legacy, like the parent who is continually negative toward his children leaves a legacy of low self-worth.  Or the business owner who, day in and day out, is harsh and unappreciative of his employees leaves a legacy of zero loyalty or appreciation.  

As followers of Jesus, we are called to leave a legacy of faith, perseverance, and love.  If we are parents, then to our children.  If we are pastors, then to those we shepherd.  If we are older, then to those who are younger.  So you see, all of us are called upon, regardless of age or stage of life, to leave a legacy.  

Today, think about the legacy you are leaving.  If you are a student, what will your legacy be that you pass along to those coming behind you, the freshmen and the sophomores?  If you are a parent, what legacy of faith are you passing along to your kids?  Hopefully, it will be one of fixing your eyes on Jesus and a life lived in devotion and surrender to Him.

© Jim Musser 2015

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