Legacy (11-5-16)

Legacy.  I have been thinking about that term a lot recently.  We all have a legacy of some kind that is passed along through our families, or those that we spend the most amount of time with.  In a lot of ways, we get to help build those legacies and pass them along to the generations that are going to follow us as well.  Just in case you are not with me on the term legacy, Merriam-Webster.com defines legacy as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.  There are other definitions as well, but this is the one that I have been thinking long and hard about.

Why?  I am a first generation preacher on my side of the family.  As far as I know, I am the first person to make preaching my career path in my family.  My family, however, has a long legacy of being Christ-followers.  More than that has me thinking about legacy though.  My wife’s grandmother just passed away a few weeks ago.  Last week, we were finally able to travel to Ohio to spend time with her family, and a lot of memories were shared.  It was a very quick trip, but well worth it. 

While we were there, we got to talking about the fact that my wife’s dad, brother, and I have all preached from the same stage at their church in Georgetown, OH.  I new that, but being there and seeing it again, it was a great reminder.  I love that we have all had the opportunity to preach God’s word from that stage.  I was sharing that with my mother-in-law, and that is when the real idea of legacy hit me.  Their side of the family has a lot of preachers.  I already knew that, but she told me that they had been counting.  Including me marrying into the family, and my brother-in-law who is currently in Bible College, we have 20 active preachers in the family.

I was blown away by that number.  That is crazy, but that is awesome.  And my wife’s grandmother is a huge part of that legacy.  Her and her husband helped start a church early in their lives, in their living room.  That church today has thousands of people that attend weekend services.  While I have a legacy of being faithful to Jesus in my side of the family, I married into a legacy of preachers and missionaries as well!

But that is not where I want it to end.  I want to live my life in such a way that I can help build that legacy and pass it to the next generation.  Not to make a name for me, but to exalt the name of Jesus Christ throughout this world.  And I have a challenge for you as well.  Find your legacy.  If you find that you have a legacy that you want to change, do so. 

Hebrews 12:1-3 states, “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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

You see, we have a legacy of those that went before us.  They set the example of how to live as a Christ follower.  But we also have Jesus himself.  This passage also tells us how to continue that legacy so that we can pass it along to those that follow us.  And when the world makes us lose our focus, just remember, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus”.  What legacy do you want to pass along to the next generation?

Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak

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