Tuesday, October 23, 2018

List or Legacy?

Several years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Rusty Wright speak. Rusty is an award winning author, lecturer and syndicated columnist who writes much about connecting God’s grace to everyday life.

One of his mantras is to live intentionally.

It’s much easier to take life as it comes, but to live intentionally, we have to step back for the long look.

For some, this might result in the formulation of a bucket list. The popularity of this approach is evidenced by books that offer a list of things to do before we die.
There’s nothing wrong with a list, but if we are to make a difference for a people yet to be born, our lives will inspire others to seek and love God.

Living lives of worship, prayer, and Bible study is foremost but ultimately, we need to put feet on our words.

I know a woman in her seventies who through her writing is trying to reach as many people as she can in her lifetime with the Good News. A classmate from high school helps build houses for the poor, living out her Christian faith in a tangible way. Another of our friends continues to invest his time in the lives of the homeless. A couple of other church friends pour themselves into a food ministry for struggling families. We know missionaries approaching their sixties who are still on foreign soil. Another couple close to us invests much of their time and resources to fund a ministry and seminary in a country suffering financial collapse. Others spend their time mentoring. My own husband flunked retirement and continues in ministry speaking four or five times a week. 

I have heard parents say their legacy is through their children, and that can be true, but it doesn’t mean we get a pass for the years after the kids become adults.

My neighbor, Betty, has been teaching children at church for fifty-six years. She is eighty-six and one of the liveliest people I know. So for all of us who have said, let someone younger do it, well, sorry. Betty inspires me to keep at it doing whatever God calls me to do as long as I have breath to do it.

So, here is the bottom line. Writing a check isn’t enough. We need to be investing ourselves in God’s work with our time and our lives, intentionally doing that until we see Jesus.

So, what will it be―list or legacy? Why don’t we all take a step back and ask God this very dangerous question, “Lord, what do you want me to do with the rest of my life?”

I am convinced God will answer.

Speaking of legacy, Eugene Peterson died yesterday. He left a huge legacy for generations to come in his Bible translation, The Message. I end with a verse from Psalm 78:4 in Peterson’s translation: “We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation―God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done.”

The books:


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