Two weeks ago I spent two weeks in Washington with my family for Christmas. It was a much needed time with my family and a much needed time of refreshment. I needed to be renewed. I needed to hear what God had for 2014. I needed to be away.
And in my time away God spoke to me through the book of James:
“You see that his faith and his actions were working together and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scriptures was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness and he was called God’s friend.’ You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” James 2:22-24
There were multiple other verses that morning scattered through James 1-5 that caught my attention and they all, including this one pointed to one thing for me, legacy. After reading James 1-5 I penned these words, “God, Your words speak truth and life even thousands of years after they were inspired and written. You are not just about the immediate but the legacy that comes about…”
God is not concerned with just today. He has never been concerned with just today. If you look at scripture you see a God that cares about tomorrow as well. Why else would He send prophets to foretell things to come? Why else would He send His son to die not only for those alive during that time but for all who were to come that would believe in Him? Because His concern is not just for the immediate but instead for the legacy that is to come.
Living ones life so that it isn’t just about today but it is about tomorrow. But it goes further than just that, but legacy is about those who will be influenced by your today, tomorrow. How you live your life matters. How you live your life impacts others. How many times do we look at history and we are confronted by the legacy of those before us, simple people living their lives in a way that affects those who came after them.
Martin Luther King Jr
Even today there are people still alive who are leaving a legacy as they live: Tim Tebow, Nelson Mandela, etc.
We all leave a legacy but it is our choice if it will be a legacy of hope or a legacy of destruction.
Yesterday at youth group we started a series entitled, “Living a Life of Legacy.” In 2 Kings we learn about the prophet Elisha and I’m not going to get into his life, although you should look it up and read about it because it’s awesome, but instead in chapter 13 there are two verses that speak about his legacy. It says that after Elisha died they buried his body. When his body had become bones some Israelites were coming to bury another dead person but they encountered some raiders at the tomb. They quickly threw in the body and scrambled to get away. When the dead man’s body hit the bones of Elisha the man sprang to life. Elisha’s dry bones had given to life to this dead body. The power of God that had resided on Elisha during his life was still present to the extent that even his bones had the power to bring someone back from the dead. Talk about a legacy right there.
Well we also talked about the story of Rachel Joy Scott. If you have never heard her story please take a few moments to research and look her up. When I was in high school her story impacted me greatly. It changed the way that I saw my life and it challenged me to be intentional in the way that I interacted with other students. Rachel Joy Scott was a 17 year old at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. She was outside the library having lunch on the lawn when the Columbine school massacre happened. The two boys who went through the school shooting and killing people came up to Rachel, held a gun to her head and asked her if she was a Christian. Everyone knew that Rachel was a Christian. She lived her life in such a way and she never hid it, when these two boys asked her that question they knew that she was. And without a second thought Rachel Joy Scott answered, “Yes” and she was shot point blank in the head.
How tragic. She had two loving parents and a brother who lived through the tragedy. She was so young and so loved. Why did she have to die? Well her legacy isn’t just that she answered yes when many would have said no but it goes beyond that. When her parents went through her things they found an outline of her hand with these words written inside of it, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s lives.”
That is her legacy.
I don’t think when she penned those words that she ever thought she would be killed in a school shooting. I don’t think that she thought she would be shot for saying yes she was a Christian. I think she knew that God would use her to reach millions, I think she knew that was God’s intention. But it is likely that she envisioned God’s intention being lived out: she could have thought she would be a preacher or she would run a conference, maybe she thought she would be a teacher or a doctor. Who knows? What I do know is that her legacy is that she has reached millions of people. After the Columbine shooting her father started something called Rachel’s Challenge. And it is a challenge to high school students to live their lives the way that Rachel lived hers. To stop bullying in schools, to reach the lonely in their midst and to bring kindness in where cliques and gossip often block it. Her challenge to millions of high school students is to begin to live a life of legacy.
This isn’t just a message for teens though. This is a message for all. How are you living your life? What legacy are you leaving and what legacy does God have for you to give. I challenge you as hearing Rachel’s legacy challenged me, what legacy are you going to leave the world with?
Join me over the next 3 months as I look into the lives within the bible and learn what it means to Live a Life of Legacy!