I guess it's always a little tricky to talk about someone's legacy. As I was thinking about my pastor's legacy today, many things came to mind. Of course, there is the big, beautiful church building. There's the perpetual adoration chapel. No one on the finance committee would want to forget that, despite these tough times, we remain in the black. The list could go on and on. But, I don't think any of these are keys to his legacy. Well, if not them, then what?
I think we are his legacy. It's the people he's pastored all these years. Now, if we were going to craft a "top ten" list of things we could do to ensure his legacy would be long-lasting, I think I'd say he'd want us to, in no particular order:
- Be faithful. Not only to God, but to our family, our friends and neighbors.
- Be selfless rather than selfish.
- Be more compassionate and welcoming to the stranger, the immigrant, and the downtrodden.
- Be the first to forgive.
- Be a cheerful giver, especially to the poor. He always reminded us that, if we take care of the poor, everything else will work out.
- Be an optimist instead of a pessimist.
- Be a wise steward of everything that has been entrusted to you.
- Be someone who strives to be holy, not just sometimes, but all the time.
- Be patient with others, especially those who disagree with you.
- Be Christ-like, so that when people see you, they see Him.
As he leaves us, I'm so happy to say that this isn't the end of the story, but rather the beginning of the next chapter. I pray that it is a long, long, book.
If someone were writing about your legacy, what would they say? Don't despair if none of the adjectives on that top ten list above would be said of you. When the sun comes up tomorrow, you'll have another chance to put them into practice. Why not focus on one each week for the next ten weeks? By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you'll be a changed person. You'll experience the joy of "making all things new."