I do a fair amount of talking about legacy. I think it is natural to do so when you are encouraging those older in ministry to determine vision, it is often couched as “what do you want your legacy to be?” Mostly this call is to cling to central truths of the faith and let our legacy be about them. It is the old saying, “I don’t care if you remember my name but please remember the Jesus I preach.”
In a series on the book of James we also spent some time on the reality that our legacy would be vapor. Our time of influence is short and we must be about the business of seeing lives changed in Christ. But perhaps I have given too much air time to the idea of legacy.
David Murray has some important thoughts on the topic and what we should really be about. In his post on not living for a legacy Murray points out that we must be living in the moment to do life and ministry well. “It’s hard enough making the right decisions day-to-day without having also to weigh the impact 50 years down the road. Better just think about the today and leave all the tomorrows with the Lord. In fact we’re probably more likely to leave a legacy if we don’t live for one.”
He makes the post that most of us, unless the Lord chooses, will not be memorable. Our books will go out of print. Our people will be pastored by a new generation. And our glimmers of greatness will fade with time.
But a true legacy to leave is that of a spiritual nature in others. “One thing I believe that heaven will reveal is that the vast majority of completely unknown and faithful pastors are leaving a bigger spiritual legacy behind in the hearts and lives of their flock than many who are preaching, ministering, and writing to huge audiences.”
Murray ends his piece rightly thinking that the most important legacy for any of us to leave is converted children. Our families as legacy. I agree.
Read his post here and stop living for legacy.