A couple years ago I became aware of YouTube and I was amazed at the wealth of information and amazing preaching that is out there. A short time after I began this, seemingly obsessive, video watching period I connected with a couple, Jeff and Caroline, from New Orleans that love the Lord and both have been gifted with bringing the Truth in their own unique way. It was about this time that Jeff presented a YouTube challenge, which was, one video a day for the entire year of 2010; reading, preaching, and/or teaching God’s Word. It was an amazing blessing and I became friends with them and a few others involved in the challenge. I know it seems strange that we consider ourselves friends even though we have never met face to face; however, I talk to them via cell phone and email more than most people I have known my entire life. There is something about a mutual love for Christ that connects people in a deep way.
Jeff was recently diagnosed with some heart problems. Like most people that receive difficult medical, potentially life threatening, news; he began to contemplate death in a little more “intense” way. Part of that intensity was considering what he wanted his legacy to be; and he sent a request, for all who are willing, to share what legacy they want to leave behind. That is the focus of this post.
Before I get started on the legacy I want to leave behind, I would first like to share a very cool example of the impact of a legacy. In February of 2011 my father-in-law died of cancer. He was more than just my father-in-law; he was one of my best friends. Buck and I would go on golf trips together, just the two of us. Up until I hurt my back, we golf together almost once a week. He was an amazing man; giving, loving, kind…he was one of those guys that make most of us look bad in the way he was always there when someone was in need. Not only was he willing to do anything for anyone; he would do it with a smile on his face and would make you believe there is nothing else he would rather be doing.
Within a few weeks after Buck died, my sister-in-law text my wife to ask if they could use my suburban to drive to Florida (from Minnesota). The fact that she text my wife and not me, and that she text and not called is a testament of the reaction she would have expected from me. It was the day before they were leaving and while they were packing it became apparent that there was no way they would get everything in their vehicle, so it left them no choice but ask for my vehicle. I don’t know who was more stunned: me, my wife, or them when I immediately said, “yea, no problem.” In those weeks after Buck died I thought about him almost constantly and everything seemed to be filtered through, “what would Buck do”…that’s why I said, “yea, no problem.” The problem was, my Suburban was way overdue for an oil change, the tank was empty, and it was filthy. The next morning when I was leaving for work (they were going to be leaving that afternoon); I was pulling down the drive way and I could almost hear a voice say, “what else would Buck do.” I can’t explain it, it wasn’t audible but it was clear in my head, more so than before. And I immediately said aloud to myself, “He would get the oil changed, fill it with gas, and wash it”…so that is exactly what I did. It felt great.
That is a legacy worth leaving…Buck was an amazing man that made others better by knowing him.
I understand that getting the oil changed, putting gas in and cleaning my own vehicle isn’t Nobel Peace Prize material, but it is a far cry from the person I used to be. I used to be a polar opposite of legacy I want to leave. It reminds me of Romans 6:
Romans 6:21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
There are SO MANY things of which I am now ashamed. I was selfish, self-centered, arrogant, prideful, mean, violent, unloving, unfriendly, self-seeking, and I was almost completely without joy in my life. Some reading that might be wondering, “why is he using past tense”. I will be the first to admit that I am still not all that I want to be, but He who has started a good work in me will continue it.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
The day I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, He immediately gave me a new heart with new desires:
Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
So in short, what do I want my legacy to be? First and foremost, I want people to say, “he loved Jesus and wanted to glorify Him in his life.” Second, I want people to say, “he always told the truth.”
I was blessed by my son a couple years ago (when he was 7) and he has no idea how much he blessed me. I can’t remember the question, but both my kids asked me a difficult question for a parent to answer. I have always told my kids straight and never assumed they were too young to understand; and in this case, whatever the answer was, Nathan replied, “dad, we always know that you will tell us the truth.” That was so AWESOME!! It gave me a great opportunity weeks later when I talked to Paige about another matter. I won’t get in to the whole story, but ultimately I was able to tell her, “if anything happens to me, above all else, above all the things I have taught you, I only want you to be sure to remember one thing, ‘seek God and the Truth found in His Word, and trust in Jesus.’”
I would also love to leave a legacy of being that guy that would do anything for anyone; loving, giving, and kind. This legacy would glorify God and ironically it is all the virtues I used to think were silly and weak. Praise God that He has changed me, just like He promised He would. He set me free from the wretch I used to be, and above all else, He set me free from sin and death.
1Timothy 2:3-7 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.