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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Leaving a Legacy

I spent part of my morning attending the funeral service for one of the leading pastors in our community. Not my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning, but I’m glad I was there.

A lot of things about this brother’s sudden passing have affected me.  He was only a couple years older than me, which always causes one to pause and consider your own mortality.  Also, I regret not having gone out of my way to be a better friend to my brother.  We got along fine; served our local Baptist Association together; I even joined him for a time together with a group of pastors who would pray together.  Yet, I never went out of my way to just call and ask him to grab some coffee, or whatever.  I regret that.
There have been a few other thoughts and feelings that have come to me since hearing of his sudden departure from this life. But as I sat through the service this morning, the one thing that stood out was the impact he has had on our community.  Lives touched for the Kingdom of God and His glory.  I may not have always agreed with my brother on every little doctrinal detail and method of ministry.  But there was never any doubt that he loved Jesus and wanted to see Him exalted.  

The results of that love could be seen by the hundreds of people who came today.  The church sanctuary was filled, and overflow seating was set up in the gym/fellowship area to watch on a live stream.  Truly this brother had an impact for the Kingdom.

I left this morning with a lot of questions.  Foremost among them: am I having any impact for the Kingdom?  What will my legacy be?  When the day comes, and it will surely come, when my family gathers to say an earthly farewell to me, who else will be with them?  Not that I’ve ever felt drawing a crowd is the point.  I don’t feel that way about ministry now, so I certainly don’t feel that way about a funeral.  And yet, again, what is my legacy?  

I’ve conducted enough funerals myself to know that these are emotional times.  People are led to do a lot of reflecting, which is a good thing.  It’s good to think about our own mortality.  It’s good, especially, to think about that in terms of whether or not we are prepared for eternity.  Which is why I always want to make the Gospel a focus during funeral services.  But it’s not just about the emotional reactions.

What is the legacy I will leave behind?  Does my life reflect Christ in the way it should?  Am I being a blessing to those around me, especially to my family?  Am I leading them by example, not just by words, to seek after Christ? Am I being an encouragement to my fellow servants in the Kingdom, faithfully praying for them and standing with them as we seek His glory together?  Most importantly, how will I change from this day forward to seek to improve in these areas.  It does no good to reflect and question, if I’m not willing to make changes, right?

This is just a ramble, I know.  Just a few thoughts I needed to write down for my own sake, to help organize my own thoughts.  Still, I hope that anyone who might somehow get lost on the internet and stumble on to these words, that you might be led to consider your own legacy.  Are you prepared for eternity yourself; by grace through faith in Christ alone; and are you leading those around you to seek Christ and His glory as well? 

Every one of us will face this moment when we’re not just attending a funeral, but we are the guest of honor.  How are we preparing for that day?  What will be our legacy?  And will Christ be exalted by our death as much as our life? More than anything, my greatest desire, is that on that day I will hear from my King, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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