Summary: At the end of our lives, we want to leave more than an financial inheritance, or even a good name. We want to leave a legacy of lives touched by love and the power of God.
Mark 10:35-45 “Leaving a Legacy”
Each and every one of else has an inner desire to go beyond success to significance. We want our lives to mean something and make a difference.
Christians are freed to live significant lives because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. We no longer have to worry about working off our sins, or pleasing God. With God’s love and forgiveness we are empowered to make a mark on life.
We are freed to leave a legacy in life. In order to do this, we must understand the different legacies that we could leave and which one is lasting.
POWER AND PRESTIGE VS. SERVICE
James and John saw Jesus as a revolutionary. Jesus talked about starting God’s kingdom on earth. James and John wanted a piece of the action. They wanted to be given positions of power and prestige, because they were friends of Jesus and had a chance to get in on this revolution on the “ground floor.”
Of course John and James did not want to pay any price or make any effort in order to attain these positions of power and prestige. They simply wanted Jesus to grant them these positions.
James and John were also very shortsighted as to who would benefit from their appointment to these positions. They could only see that they would be better off –probably much better off then they presently were.
It is easy for us to identify with James and John. We know the allure of being served and pampered. It feels good. It makes us feel important. But is not the path to leaving a legacy.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS VS. PEOPLE
We are a society that focuses on what people do and what people have done. When we focus our time and energy on doing things and accomplishing great feats, we are building a resume, but we are not leaving a legacy.
While watching some of the coverage of the 9-11 events, I was struck by the story of the manager of the WTC. His involvement with the WTC had spanned four decades—since its inception. His leadership and dedication to the WTC was memorialized by a plaque that hung in the lobby of one of the towers. He made the comment that he thought that plaque would be there four a thousand years—his legacy would last. But his legacy was destroyed on 9-11.
If we are to leave a legacy, we need to leave it in the lives of people.
The candle is a parable of life. It lights others and in the process consumes itself. When our lives become candles, we leave a legacy.
The story of Marian Preminger illustrates this point. She was born in Hungary to an aristocratic family. She became and actress and married the brilliant director Otto Preminger. The couple moved to Hollywood where Marian was caught up in the glamour, lights, and superficial excitement and soon began to live a sordid life. Preminger divorced her. Marian returned to Europe and eventually met Albert Schweitzer, a musician and doctor who gave up the “good” life in order to care for the sick in Africa. Marian discovered that was what she wanted. She wrote in her autobiography All I Ever Wanted Was Everything, that she could not get the “everything” until she could give everything. In her obituary she stated, “Albert Schweitzer said there are two classes of people in this world—the helpers, and the nonhelpers. I’m a helper.”
The Tanzanian Church realizes that the greatest legacy it can leave is in the lives of people. A vast majority of its ministry is in meeting the needs of young people, teaching them vocational skills, helping them to lead productive lives, and sharing with them the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Who are the people who have touched your lives? Who left their legacy burning bright within you? It is a great legacy, because it not only burns in your life, but you have passed it on to the lives of those around you. It has become a blazing fire.
As we light these candles, let us reflect on the legacy that they teach us. True legacies are left in the lives of people—people in whom we have invested ourselves, and given ourselves, and shared our faith.