About Your Legacy . . .

With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.
— 2 Corinthians 8:18 ESV

So who is this "famous brother"? No one knows. God was content to leave him anonymous.

There is a lesson there.  

A few years before his death, Steve Jobs was asked, "If you had to choose a legacy, what would it be?" Jobs replied:

And so I don't think about legacy much. I just think about being able to get up every day and go in and hang around these great people and hopefully create something that other people will love as much as we do. And if we can do that, that's great.

That mindset is refreshing. It is also in keeping with the way of Jesus. Jesus made it clear that humility is much more important than legacy.

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
— Luke 17:10 ESV

So forget legacy! Throw away the old photos. Burn your diary. Cancel your subscription to Ancestry.com. Get back to the present.

Not so fast.

While one might be inclined to assign legacy to the dustbin that would be a mistake:

  • Paul writes "you are our letter" (2 Corinthians 3:2).
  • David recounts the valor of his mighty men (2 Samuel 23:8).
  • David taught his soldiers to sing of the heroic efforts of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:17-27).
  • Solomon pointedly tells his son not to share the fate (legacy) of the adulterous (Proverbs 7:24-27).
  • The writer of Hebrews highlights many souls in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11)

I think the difference is between leaving a legacy and trying to leave a legacy.

Absalom tried to leave a legacy when he built a monument to himself (2 Samuel 18:18). His actions were the grown-up version of the two-year-old chant, "Look at me! Look at me!" Such legacy building is unnecessary. Life is not about me.

Remember the words of Jesus . . .

But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
— John 12:27-28

About your legacy . . .

Seeking God and serving him you may leave a legacy, but even that performance God may choose to savor for himself as he did the mysterious "famous brother." Or perhaps God may decide to grant you a larger platform or even enshrine you in some Faith Hall of Fame.

That is God's call. Your job is to glorify him, to make him known.

Now, how can you do that today?


Notes:

  1. And so I don't think ... from John Paczkowski, "Bill Gare and Steve Jobs," D5 Highlights from D:All Things Digital, May 30, 2007. http://allthingsd.com/20070530/d5-gates-jobs-interview/ (accessed November 22, 2016).