Leaving Something That Lasts After You Are Gone
Since I have been quickly approaching the big 50-year-old mark, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I want my legacy to be for my life. Unless Jesus comes soon, we are all going to go to heaven via the grave and so I want my life to leave a mark on this world after I am gone.
That is what leaving a legacy means.
What effect will you have after you are gone?
Just last Sunday, I preached a message on this very subject. There were very few dry eyes in the place. Jesus was speaking to us about letting our latter years be greater than our former years.
So I wanted to share with you a little about that message. The passage that I started the message with came from Matthew’s gospel chapter 4 and it is a very famous passage. It goes like this.
Following Jesus – A Lasting Legacy
Matthew 4:19 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
When Jesus was calling these guys in this passage, he was not trying to say something profound that would become a keynote text for evangelism. He was just trying to communicate with them on their level.
They were all fishermen and He was telling them that they were going to have a different legacy than the one they first thought they were going to have. Instead of fishermen of fish, they were going to be fishermen of people.
So I asked my congregation to write down on a piece of paper these words. “Follow me, and I will make you __________________.
The idea was to get them to not just look for the right answer in the Bible but to get them to stop and listen to the voice of the Lord concerning their own personal life.
I wanted them to hear the voice of Jesus concerning what their personal legacy was to be.
Why Leave A Legacy?
In Proverbs 29:18 the New Living Translation reads
When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.
But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
When we don’t have divine guidance for our life or when we have no vision, then we just run wild and do anything. We need to have a vision of what we want our life to be about.
That is leaving a legacy.
As for me personally, I want my legacy to be that I was a servant of the Lord that won people to Jesus and modeled the type of Christianity that people want to be a part of. I have done part of that over the years, including two churches that have been started and are still going because of my desire to serve Jesus.
I then shared with my congregation the fact that when I was in my early twenties I prayed a prayer that I still pray today.
I was at an Edwin Louis Cole men’s meeting and he was sharing how he asked the Lord to make the latter part of his life greater than the former part. I prayed the same prayer. I prayed that the years at the end of my life would count for more than my early years. I am now in those latter years and it has become more pressing of prayer for me.
I want to leave a legacy behind that is glorifying to the Lord.
Hindrances To Leaving a Legacy
In Hebrews chapter 12 we are encouraged to run the race that is set before us. Each of our races is different and whether or not you get to the finish line of your race is dependent upon whether or not you are heading in the right direction, you have set aside the hindrances, and you continue to the end.
Heb. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
I shared with my congregation that I want to be able to walk into heaven and accomplish 1 thing. I just want to be a fat, balding man that has at least a few things that I can lay at my savior’s feet.
I asked them, what do you have to lay at your savior’s feet?
What will be the legacy that you bring to Jesus?
You see, it is my heart’s desire that on that day, I will hear the words that saints of old have heard, that the martyrs have heard, that little old grandma’s and grandpas have heard for years. I want to hear the voice of Jesus saying “well done good and faithful servant, enter into your rest”.
So what can hinder me in that goal?
There are weights that can slow us down.
These may be the cares of the world or priorities that are not in line with the plans of God, or they can just be distractions that we have allowed to get in our way.
Whatever they may be, we need to strip those things off and pursue what it is that Jesus has said He will make us become. Remember the blank question? I will make you _________.
The next thing we need to do is deal with the sins that are tripping us up.
At some point in our life, it has to become more important to us to accomplish what Jesus has called us to do rather than indulge ourselves in temporary pleasure. Our focus has to change from one of pleasing ourselves and our flesh and become one of wanting to please Him on that day when we meet face to face.
What Will Your Legacy Be?
So I ask you today. Will you start down the path to leaving a legacy?
Will you start to do what is needed so you have some gifts to lay at the Master’s feet?
Will, you be able to say with the Apostle Paul on the day that you are heading to heaven,
“As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”