As one who uses words as a ‘tool of the trade’, to think through the message I would most clearly want to communicate; the message that would be a part of my legacy, is both thought-provoking and powerful.
I think about the messages I have communicated at Valley, often saying, ‘you’ve heard me say this before’. For me the message is simple: I believe a life of faith in Jesus Christ is the best possible way for any of us to journey through our days here on earth…and it’s the only way we’ll spend eternity together in heaven.
As a deeply held core conviction I believe the truth of I Peter 3:18 captures the core message of the Christian faith: Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father expect through me. (John 14:6)
As a secondary message I have often raised up the words of 1 Peter 1:22, love one another deeply from the heart. Many of you will remember when I wrote those words on a large stake and invited our people to sign it. We then drove it into the ground outside the front entrance to remind ourselves of a core conviction that underlies all that we do as local church.
Jesus commands us: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
One final message our people hear often at Valley is ‘finish well’! Finish well to the honor and glory of our God. Friends you have to know I am going to continue to declare those messages and call you to stay connected, to stay faithful, to give and serve, until Christ comes or calls you home. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.
If those I lead and serve remember and seek to live out these words then my message will be a rich part of my legacy.
As I reflect on leaving a legacy my mind cycles back to my life verse, 1 Corinthians 15:58: Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. This is the way I would want to be remembered.
And one day, more than anything else that drives what I do, I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” from the One who has called me on this journey; the One who calls me His beloved and is right now preparing a home for me in heaven!
Our life and legacy is about so much more than what we do for the short time we are on this earth. Henri Nouwen writes: " I still believe deeply that our few years on this earth are part of a much larger event that stretches out far beyond the boundaries of our birth and death. I think of it as a mission into time, a mission that is very exhilarating and even exciting, mostly because the One who sent me on the mission is waiting for me to come home and tell the story of what I have learned".
So my friends at Valley what legacy will you leave? What is the message you want to leave behind?