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It’s Personal | Legacy

#storychanging

It’s Personal | Legacy

MondayFor I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself.  1 Corinthians 11:23

 –“I worked 90 hours a week all my life so I could leave a good inheritance for my kids and grandkids,” said Carl.  

     “You mean the kids who don’t speak to you and the grandkids who don’t know you?” his friend replied.

 –“I want to be remembered for my beauty and my singing ability,” Leona said.

    But at her funeral, not a single person gave testimony of how Leona had impacted their lives for eternity.

We all leave a legacy, whether we intend to or not. Our legacy is what we are remembered for—not what we WANT to be remembered for. What we think we are communicating may not be the message others receive. When we surrender our lives to Christ, a new chapter opens in our story. There are blank pages waiting to be filled with truth, wisdom, honor, and direction for the next generation. We develop those qualities as we walk with Jesus and allow Him to work in our lives. But sadly, many people leave only a legacy of failure: angry tirades, workaholism, greed, lust, or selfishness. Paul’s whole life was about passing on to others what Jesus had taught him and that became his legacy. If we belong to Jesus, that can be our legacy too.

Final Thought:  What legacy are you leaving behind?

Prayer: Father, show me clearly whether my goals are worthy of being a legacy. If I’m chasing my own dreams, I may be leaving nothing behind that has any eternal significance. Help me build a legacy that counts for eternity. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

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Tuesday  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  2 Timothy 4:7

We’re all gonna die. How’s that for an opening? It either drew you in, or it caused you to recoil, because our reaction to the topic of death is rarely neutral. It creates an emotional response: fear, dread, anxiety, or anticipation. Unless we are among those who are alive when Jesus returns, death is a certainty. Paul lived every day with eager expectation that Jesus might return any moment, and that’s how we should live too. That expectation motivated him to make choices that prepared him for death. We’re not prepared to die until we know why we lived. When Paul anticipated his own death, he made three claims.

First, he said he had fought the good fight. What fight? He didn’t mean juggling bills and crazy neighbors. He meant that this world is not a daisy field; it’s a war zone filled with landmines. We must show up every day armed for battle. Paul had successfully defeated every enemy that came against him. He had also finished the race God set before him. He had not ignored responsibility or given up when suffering threatened. And through it all, he kept the faith. He never wavered in his conviction that Jesus of Nazareth had risen from the dead. Knowing and being known by Jesus was worth giving up everything else. He didn’t just live for Jesus, he died for Him. When he breathed his last, he left a legacy of faithfulness.

Final Thought:  When you breath your last, will it be said of you that you fought the good fight and kept the faith?

Prayer: Father, I want to live in such a way that on my deathbed I will have no regrets. Help me fight the good fight, finish my race, and keep the faith. I want to face death with Paul’s level of confidence. May my faithfulness be my legacy. Amen.

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Wednesday Though I am free… I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 1 Corinthians 9:19

Sleet pinged off the hood of her car as she sat with the heater on full blast, staring at the dark building. She’d have to dash through the sleet, turn on the lights, crank up the heater, minister to people all day, then leave after dark having seen no one but the hurting. She pictured her warm living room, fire crackling, a cup of hot cocoa. “Why are you doing this?” The question echoed inside her soul. There would be no paycheck. No pats on the back. Might even invite abuse, slander, gossip, or anger from the people she was trying to help. “Why am I doing this?” she asked herself. “Unless I know, I’m not even going inside.” As the engine hummed and sleet turned to snow, Paul’s words came to mind: “I’ve made myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible.” This was Jesus’ assignment. She would gladly be His slave. So she shut off the engine and went inside.

Why do you do what you do? What is the overarching goal of your life? If it is not to please and glorify God, you’re wasting   your life. You may choose the cup of hot cocoa and enjoy temporary relief, but you’ll lose in the long run. We’re not here for ourselves, to make ourselves happy any way we can. We were born into this century and this region of the world to glorify God and bring Him pleasure. And the clock is ticking. We each have a limited amount of time to build a legacy. Then time’s up. God has given us freedom of choice, but there are consequences that come with every choice. Are you using your freedom wisely?

Final Thought:  Have you made yourself a slave for Jesus Christ? If not, you are wasting your freedom.

Prayer: Father, am I wasting my life? I like to help people, sure. But I do it my way because I want to think I’m a good person. But have I voluntarily made myself your slave, pursuing your goals, and not my own? Help me know. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Thursday Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.   Hebrews 12:2

“My boss is rude. I come in early, stay late, and work harder than anybody, but he never has a word of praise.” Look higher.

“My husband doesn’t appreciate anything I do around the house. I’m tired of never hearing ‘Thank you.’”  Look higher.

“I thought this was what God wanted me to do, but I feel unappreciated in this difficult ministry.” Look higher.

We give up, walk away, and stew in misery when we don’t look high enough for our rewards. Looking to people for validation is a one-way ticket to Drama-land. It’s great when our bosses notice our dedication, our spouses shower us with praise, or our coworkers appreciate us. But when that’s as high as we look, we’re in for trouble. People will fail us. Their praise is never quite enough. So we start structuring our lives and responses to get the most positive feedback, and we miss the freedom of looking higher for our validation. We can’t love or serve people adequately when we’re expecting a payoff. Often what we call “selfless giving” is, in fact, self-centered people-pleasing. We NEED their approval, their gratefulness, their admiration in order to feel good about ourselves. Freedom from people-pleasing comes when we remind ourselves whose pleasure counts. At the end of every day, our primary question should be, “Lord, was I as pleasing to you today as I know how to be?” If the answer is yes, then that’s all that matters. People like us or don’t. We get attention or we don’t. But we’ve learned to look higher for our praise.

Final Thought:  Whose praise counts most in your life? Is it God’s or other people’s?

Prayer: Father, I have to be honest with myself and with you. I crave validation from people. I want them to like me, appreciate me, even admire me. But I’m looking too low. Teach me how to look higher, to Jesus alone, for approval. In His name, amen.

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Friday For this purpose I…labor, striving according to His power which works mightily within me. Colossians 1:29

“For this purpose I labor.” How would you answer that? For what purpose do you labor? “I gotta keep the lights on.” “My kid needs braces.” “Nobody else will take care of my parents with Alzheimer’s.” Most of us don’t give much thought as to WHY we do what we do. Many times, we don’t think we have a choice. And repetitive labor without choice is drudgery. But what if we chose to see every job as a direct assignment from God? What if you knew that every time you punched the timeclock, rotated a set of tires, or changed a bedpan, you did so in the power of Christ and for His glory? Would it change your attitude?

Paul said that his reason for enduring beatings, arrests, stonings, and shipwreck was “so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ” (v. 28). It was that purpose that fueled his life. It could have easily become drudgery to enter a town and know you may not leave it alive. But he had a purpose and that purpose kept him going. We all have a surface reason for doing what we do. But God offers us the opportunity to find deeper meaning in daily tasks. We can experience the thrill of His power working mightily within us. When we show up joyfully for our 4 am shift, pray while we rotate tires, or sing a hymn to our bedridden parent, our labor takes on eternal significance. Labor is no longer just a chore; it’s infused with holy purpose.

Final Thought:  For what higher purpose do you labor?

Prayer: Father, I easily get stuck in a rut. I need you to refuel me. Give me a higher purpose for what I do. Help me to see opportunity in the mundane tasks as I strive according to your power which works mightily within me. In Jesus’ name, amen.