Legacy: "anything handed down from the past."
I think if you asked anyone, "Do you want to leave a great legacy?", they'd probably say yes.
When it's all said and done, most everyone wants to be remembered in a great, positive light.
We want people to say nice things about us at our funeral.
After we die, and our name comes up in conversations, we want people to describe us in beautifully positive way.
We want to leave a great LEGACY.
The question is, "What kind of legacy will I leave?"
As I started to write this post, I decided to google the word, "Legacy", to see what would come up. I LOL'd when I looked at the google images that came up. As you can see below, the first several rows of pictures were of the Subaru Legacy. I laughed and said to myself, "Of course!"
Of course when I google the word LEGACY, the first image that would come up to represent it would be a nice car...
....because that's what our society's all about, isn't it?
Nice cars...Nice houses...Nice STUFF.
So, we have a choice when it comes to our legacy:
1. STUFF - We can totally make our legacy about STUFF. You've probably seen the bumper sticker: "Whoever dies with the most toys, wins!" Unfortunately, that's become more than a sticker. It's stuck to the mindset and idea that materialism is THE WAY. We've bought into this idea that success is having nice stuff....oh, and by the way, if it's not expensive, it's not nice. We've bought the lie and traded it for the truth (Romans 1:25), all in one credit card swipe.
The problem with defining our legacy with STUFF, is that it's a legacy that's going to die. I think it's funny how much money we actually spend on STUFF. Let's take a car, for instance. I've known people who have taken great pride in their vehicles. They've gradually built a self-imposed standard of automobile purchase. It's not just a car, it's a treasure. It's not just about function, it's about status. Here's the thing about cars: Different kinds of cars are bought off of different kinds of car lots, but one day, they'll all end up in the same junk yard.
The same goes for buildings, houses and statues. Many times, I've been in a building that was named after someone I've never heard of, with few exceptions. All I know is that they were rich and dead. Leaving a legacy by investing in a building for others is a noble act. It will have a notable impact......for a while. But, one day, eventually, that legacy will die. The name on the building will get less and less recognizable as time goes by, and then one day, that building will cease to exist....and so goes the legacy with it. When we bank our legacy on STUFF, that legacy will eventually die.
2. PEOPLE - The choice to truly consider is to leave our legacy with PEOPLE. Think about your life up to this point. The way you think, act and talk is a result of someone's influence on your life. Hopefully it's been positive. It may be parent, grandparent or someone you truly admire. Chances are, this person has invested in you or spoken into your life. They've left a lasting impression and inspired your path. What's beautiful about this whole thing is that the impact they've made on you is now and forever a legacy of their life which is now living on in yours. Death can never take the ideals and investment of that person. It's in you - it is you. They've left a legacy in and through you.
That's what happens when we choose to leave a legacy with PEOPLE. Influence happens. You influence a person who influences a person who influences a person............and on and on it goes.
For the last few years, I've been convicted, burdened and excited, all at the same time. God has really put a fire in me to invest more in the lives of PEOPLE and less in STUFF. After being in ministry for several years, I found myself transforming from a worship leader to a church leader. It's about people. That passion for people drove me to one undeniable call from God: DISCIPLESHIP.
Through a series of conversations and events, it became clear to me that DISCIPLESHIP is the end game. It's the ultimate way to leave a legacy in people and ultimately the way to glorify God (John 15:8). Jesus left a great commission in Matthew 28 and it can be summed up in one word - DISCIPLESHIP. As I embraced the passion of DISCIPLESHIP, I read a great book called Transformational Discipleship that really gave me a lot of guidance and vision. The author pointed out that Jesus had 3 years to do ministry on earth. The author went on to pose a big question: "If you had only 3 years to do ministry, and you knew it, what would you do?" The answer is easy: DISCIPLESHIP. Leave a legacy in people that will live beyond yourself and beyond your life.
A LIVING LEGACY is something that should be treasured. The beauty of DISCIPLESHIP is that you are not only leaving a legacy on earth, you're storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). You're living for an eternal Kingdom, instead of building a temporary, personal kingdom. You're investing in something that won't be corrupted, because it's of God, for God and about God. It won't be muddied up by your pride, ambitions or inadequacies. It's a legacy dependent on the name of God, instead of your name and reputation.
It's a legacy that can't die. It's a LIVING LEGACY that will live on through PEOPLE, because, like the song says...
"OUR GOD'S NOT DEAD, HE'S SURELY ALIVE!
HE'S LIVING ON THE INSIDE..."