For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Is Your Legacy?

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but in high school I won the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, for outstanding high school jazz musician. It’s not nearly as prestigious as it sounds. I went to a relatively small school, and was only for graduating seniors in our own jazz band. (Although, we were a good band, placing in the top three of nearly every contest we entered; brag, brag, brag…) Still, it’s a fun little piece of trivia in my mostly anonymous life.

I bring it up now simply as a way of introducing why I still love jazz music. I’ve mentioned before that my tastes are pretty eclectic. While I listen to mostly “Christian” music, my tastes range from classic rock (Petra, Whiteheart, Rez, etc.), to 80s metal bands (Stryper, Barren Cross, Whitecross), to contemporary rock bands (everything from Newsboys and Third Day, to Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch) with even some “reformed” rap tossed in (Flame, Lecrae, Shai Linne). And in addition, I like the blue eyed soul of Bryan Duncan and the Neho Soul Band, and the big band/jazz sounds of Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. Which brings me back to the jazz band thing and my point.

On the way in this morning, I was listening to D&MHO and the song Only Jesus (My Legacy) came on. Here are some of the lyrics:

What will they say, When my life is over?
Will it fade into the past?
What will remain, When my life is over?
Is there something that will last?
What will I leave behind to stand the test of time?
I leave the One who’s worthy of my whole life

My legacy, all I will leave, Is Jesus, only Jesus
The world will see, inside of me, Is Jesus, only Jesus
Lord, I long for You to be my legacy

They won’t remember my name
But they’ll know the God that saved me
My life may fade away
But they’ll know the truth that sets me free
So I will live today, For You alone to be
My life, my love, my legacy

What will folks say about me when I’m gone? What is my legacy? Good questions. An even better question is “what will my family say?” What is the legacy I’m leaving behind in my children, and then their children?

I was thinking about that lately anyway, since I picked up a copy of At the Throne of Grace, a collection of pastoral prayers from the ministry of John MacArthur. I’ve only read the first few entries, and while the prayers themselves are good, biblical, inspiring, all the things you expect from MacArthur, it was the book’s introduction that really got my attention.

MacArthur’s four adult children were the one’s to encourage this book to be printed, and they wrote the intro. While the book is a collection of MacArthur’s public pastoral prayers, it’s what the kids had to say about prayer and home that I want to highlight. Listen to what they say about dad and his prayers:

Even when we were very young, we listened attentively to our dad speak to his heavenly Father. We listened and we learned of God’s grace through these humble prayers. And we began to understand who Jesus is and what He had done for us. Our theology was shaped by the words our dad prayed.

Sitting around the kitchen table, we heard dad’s words of gratitude for the privilege of being adopted into God’s family. We heard expressions of his love for the Bible and the church around the world and for the people who were the congregational family at Grace church. His transparency disclosed his own disappointments, and his faith unpacked his sheer confidence in God’s providence. In his prayers, our day was carrying our family into the holy presence of the sovereign God of the universe. (John MacArthur, At the Throne of Grace, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2011; p 9)

Best of all, they write: “By God’s grace, our dad has been what he preaches.“ What a remarkable word for children to speak of their father. It speaks of the godly legacy this man is leaving behind, not only in his public ministry, but more importantly, in his family.

So what is my legacy? What will I leave behind? Is it Jesus, only Jesus? Will my children be able to say these kinds of things about how I have led them, and whether my life either did or did not back up my “public ministry?”

In the end, it doesn’t matter what cheap trophies we won in high school, what accolades we achieved at work, what material things we were able to accumulate. In the end, it’s our legacy that matters. I pray God will give me grace to provide a godly legacy to my children and to their children. What is your legacy?

Now, just for fun, here’s Denver and the Mile High Orchestra with their rendition of It Is Well With My Soul. As a sax player, I have to call your attention to the pair of monster sax solos starting at about 1:51. Enjoy.


Unknown said...

Bryan Duncan launched a Kickstarter campaign to record a new album and re-issue eight of his past recordings.

Scott said...

I don't normally allow anonymous comments through that just seem to be "spam" or unsoliciated advertisements. But I decided to make an exception in the above case. I still haven't decided about the Kickstarter thing. I know awhile back John Schlitt was doing a project this way, as well as some other groups I know. I guess it's as good as anything. Anyway, the above comment isn't an endoresed ad, but I do like Bryan's music, so use your best judgement.