Faith & Insight: Legacy

At a retreat, the gathering was asked to break into groups and discuss “What will your legacy be?” The gathering broke into various, mixed groups. I walked through the groups and heard a variety of people respond. And yet, the majority of the responses were similar. From males and females, from young and old, the responses to this question were similar. The majority of the answers answered the question by looking into the future of one’s life, at what they saw as the end of their life.

Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 2:9 and 10: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

When we talk about “leaving a legacy” for others, then looking far into the future or close to the end of our lives, that makes sense, but perhaps we are missing some valuable opportunities in the here and now. This truth in 1 Peter reminds us of what matters right now.

The job you currently have, well it may not be your job in another five, 10 or 15 years. The home you live in, the neighbors and friends you have now — you might move, they might move — things are probably going to change. And things like jobs and relationships, our neighborhoods and communities we live in currently, they all have huge and far reaching impacts on our lives right and we need to see to it we have an impact and legacy in those arenas we are in, right now.

Even if you only serve at one job for a few years, or live in a certain place for a short period of time — you leave a legacy, so what’s it going to be? You don’t have to be in one place for a multitude of years to make a forever impact. I’ve heard this to be true with kids in foster care. They had this brief encounter with a volunteer, a foster parent, a coach, a teacher, that perhaps didn’t last long, but in the midst of a long season of personal turmoil, that one person in that short moment made that forever impact on their lives.

As disciples of Christ, we are called to live in such a way we make a forever impact on the world in which we live, but for the glory of God. The dynamics in your home, in your marriage, or with your family may be difficult — but don’t lose sight of how you are to live for Christ in the midst of personal chaos and even pain. In the midst of hurt and pain, shine all the brighter now for Christ. Live a life worth following, no matter what season of life you are in now, so you can build a legacy that’s going to point people to God, right now. Our legacy is important. Living a life worth following that honors and glorifies the Lord is highly important. It’s our responsibility in the here and now to “proclaim the praises of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

We exist so people can look at us and say, “What a great God they serve, right now!” We exist to know God and to make Him known, right now. Yes, we are building a legacy for the future, but don’t lose sight of the fact a change might come your way and your legacy in this season, with this group, in that arena, is going to be done. Will you have lived in such a way, a life worth following, that no matter how short the season, that people when they have encountered you will have been pointed to Jesus Christ in meaningful, genuine and Christ-honoring ways?

Nick Emery is pastor of Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church.


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