Jesus prayed for me…He may have prayed for you too:
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,(John 17:20 ESV)
Jesus was praying specifically for His disciples…but when He mentioned “through their word,” He was praying for those who believed because they – the disciples- were faithful. That’s legacy.
Over 1200 years ago the Book of Kells was created by monks in, most likely, Scotland. Depending on which opinion you side with it was an elaborate showpiece, or it was used to help illustrate the gospels to the illiterate of the time. Most likely it was both. The artwork is full of symbolism for the Trinity, the disciples, and many other subjects. Twelve hundred years later, it’s still looked at, analyzed, and talked about. Those monks had no idea how their work would carry on through the years…though now mostly seen as a work of art, it still points back to scripture and to God. That’s legacy.
Edward Kimball, a Sunday school teacher, went to a shoe store to witness to one of his students. The student’s name – Dwight L Moody (look him up if you don’t know him). Depending on which stories you believe Moody is thought to have been used by God to lead up to one million people to proclaim Jesus as their Savior. You can draw a direct line, based on personal testimonies, from Moody to Billy Sunday then to Billy Graham. Kimball had no idea of what God was going to do through him and his faithfulness. That’s legacy.
This past Sunday an 80-year-old man stood in front of his church body and sang, “Til the Storm Passes Over.” He’d sung it many times in his life, but this time was more personal than the others…he was facing a new storm, a storm called cancer. In the congregation that Sunday were ten or more visitors that came to hear him sing. A sizable number of visitors for the smallish church on a dirt road in rural Kansas. They came to support someone who meant something to them, personally and spiritually. There were at least two listening that came to know Christ through this man – one directly, his son, and one indirectly, his granddaughter. The others, the man may not have been used to lead them to Christ, but he was used to disciple them. I know this to be true because I am the son mentioned.
Growing up, I have heard my Dad sing that song more times than I can count. It was my Mom’s favorite and also was highly requested in every church we belonged too. (Dad was in the Air Force, so we attended a few different churches.) Listening to him sing, John 17:20 popped into my mind…it has always been one of my favorite verses…becauseJesus is praying for me. This time though, the idea of legacy cemented itself to this verse. I’m a believer because of my Dad’s words about Christ, because of his example of following Christ. He served…song-leader (what it was called before “worship pastor” was a thing), youth leader, Sunday School teacher, and more. When we arrived at a new base, one of the first things on the list was “find a church.” Once God led us to the place, the next thing was “find a way to serve God at the new church.” At home, Christ was center. My Dad exemplified being the spiritual leader of his household. I’ve stumbled a few steps along the way, but I have tried to model that…and because of his example, my daughter came to know Christ as well. That’s legacy.
I am grateful and blessed to have such an example. I pray that I’m at least a portion of such an example. But most importantly…we all need to check our lives to make sure we’re living in such a way so that we’re leaving a legacy.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 ESV)
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, (Titus 2:7 ESV)