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What do you want your legacy to be?

by on July 26, 2017

The young adults from Berean went on a camping trip two weekends ago.  While there, someone asked me a question that has sat in my mind ever since.

The question is in the title…

I was caught off guard by the question.  It was the most serious conversation I had that weekend.  This is a very important question, because as I look at my past, my present, and my future, I only want to do what God wants me to do.  When He tells me GO, I go.  When He says STOP, I stop.  When He says SLOW DOWN, I slow down.  That’s what I want my legacy to stem from.  A pastor friend of mine back in Illinois once told me that a legacy should be built on and focused around those who come after you.  So that when they rise up and take our place, they will look at us and say “thank you”.

The most common way to illustrate legacy is the image of passing the baton.  I am sure you all know that after a lap, the runner holding the baton must pass it to the runner taking their place.  That’s a very simple way to describe legacy.  It works, but I wonder if there is a better way to illustrate it.  Honestly, the image of passing on the baton does not cover the consistent interactions that take place in real legacy-making.  A better image for understanding legacy would be planting a garden.  Incidentally enough, planting was a common symbol Jesus used in His teaching.  Trees are planted with the hope that they will grow to produce fruit.  But that hope is a long-term hope, because trees take years to grow.  Other plants take less time to grow, but need constant maintenance to make sure they aren’t choked out by weeds or wilted from too much sun or not enough water.  Clearly, gardening takes daily work.  The same is true of leaving a legacy.  Legacy is not simply emanating the life that you want to see others live, as though they were an audience watching you run a relay.  Legacy is a daily, personal interaction with a particular person or group of people from which they get to experience, on a personal level, the life you lead, as though they were a garden you are charged with tending.  Gardeners do not leave their gardens untended for a day.  They stick with it!

The same is true of legacy.  Legacy is not running solo like a relay racer, hoping people are watching you.  If you want to leave a legacy for those who come after you, place yourself in the position of genuine, personal, and consistent interaction with intentionally chosen people, so that when they will rise up to take your place, they will look at you and say “thank you”!

The Apostle Paul once wrote to one of his churches, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thes. 2:8)

Jesus Himself crafted his twelve disciples into men who would change the world with the truth of salvation.  He did this by intentionally selecting, interacting, and teaching them.

This is legacy.

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One Comment
  1. For those of you who don’t know, Pastor Jim Shemaria sends out a weekly email update.  To subscribe, email and request to be added.

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