Three Things I’ve Learned About Legacy

by | Aug 24, 2015 | 9 comments

Morning Meditation, August 24, 2015

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2Timothy 4:6-7

My parents are still at the church I grew up in and the one they started 41 years ago. I was in that church last week for a funeral honoring our family’s friend Bill, a man who’d served as the Reston Bible Church mission’s director for nearly thirty years. He was sixty-one; The lives he touched are immeasurable.

MikeandHarper

My dad and niece. I can’t take it.

The auditorium was packed with faces I’ve known since childhood. I can’t recall another time I’ve been in a room so thick with heritage. Sitting to my left were my favorite missionary couple who’d planted a church in Milan 31 years ago, the ones who brought me chocolate bars when I was a kid. I ran into a doctor and former elder who is now tending to his ailing wife with the same level of integrity with which he practiced medicine and church. Directly behind me sat a couple that planted a congregation in the next town over after meeting Christ at my parent’s church decades ago. Our family’s adopted uncle had flown up, his 81 year-old smile as contagious as the day he met the Lord, as the days he would take my sister and me to the ice cream parlor. My junior high youth leader was there, now with eight grown children of her own, still serving. The three year-olds I’d taught in Sunday school class when I was a sophomore are now twenty-somethings toting kids of their own, some biological and some from diverse parts of the world through adoption.

It was a sliver of heaven where the saints gathered and celebrated the only life worth living: one totally and completely sold out in service to the Lord. And it got me thinking about how a godly legacy starts, is sustained and secured. Because when I get to the end of my life, it’s all I will care about leaving.

Legacy begins with surrender

I’m not talking about our moment of salvation though this is vital to godly legacy. I’m talking about that time—or times—when we say to the Lord, You have me all the way. Not my way but your way. I’m ready to do what you ask and go where you take me. I’m in. In 2 Timothy Paul is writing near the end of his life, certainly remembering the moment he accepted God’s call to the Gentiles. Paul’s answering that call wasn’t what secured his salvation—that’s all God’s grace—but it is what began his legacy. Yesterday’s service made me want to forget being driven by temporal agendas or committed to fleeting successes. I want the Lord to pen my legacy and this comes at surrender.

Legacy is built over time

Paul uses the fitting metaphor of running a race because a race starts as quick as a gunshot but running that race takes endurance. And usually a lot of time. When I considered Bill’s life and the lives of those in that room I realized that all that heritage and ministry hadn’t happened over night. For some, legacy included lonely months on the mission field, estranged loved ones, sickness, persecution, strokes, even seasons marked with some pretty big sin—the kind the self-righteous like to point out—all dotting the pathway, but ultimately, everyone I know in that room is still running. They’re in the race. They haven’t given up.They’re on their way to finishing. They’re fighting that fight (because dear sisters, we’re in a fight). Every day they make a hundred choices for God, whether it be the sacrifice of prayer, the discipline of being in the Word, taking the extra minute to throw the football with their kids at the bus stop, forgiving an offense, and in so doing, one step at a time, their gait continues toward the finish line. None of us gets to helicopter in.

Legacy lasts for eternity

As I glanced at the faces around the room, baby’s flesh to grey heads, so many stories I knew intimately, immeasurable reaches of ministry along with some breathtaking blows, I saw a whole bunch of people saved by grace who’ve given their lives to tell others about that grace and disciple them in the ways of Jesus. When these saints go Home, when I go Home, when we’re all with Jesus, the legacy God’s scripted with our lives will still be at work. As Bill’s four children so richly stated, “We would not be followers of Jesus without our Mom and Dad, and our Mom and Dad would never have made it if not for knowing Christ.” Bill’s legacy will live on in his family and also in the countless lives he’s served, because what we do for Christ is eternal.

Sitting in that service reminded me that absolutely no agenda I’m holding onto can possibly rival the story God desires to write with a life fully surrendered to His purposes. I was encouraged to persevere because legacy doesn’t happen in an instant; Paul’s race boasted sufferings and triumphs and every mundane thing in between, but after a long earthly while, a legacy was built. His race was completed a step at a time, and so is ours. And after we finish our race God preserves the work. Godly legacy begins with surrender, is built over time and lasts for eternity. 

Thank you Bill for inspiring us to live all-out for Christ. We do not trust in our ability to run this race, but we trust in the One who’s called us to it.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Brandi Luiz

    This stuff breaks my heart. Over the last 5 years we’ve had a boat load of people leave our congregation. They were people just as you described. I want my girls to be able to come “home” to those that were there for them while they grew up in the church, but so many have bailed. It breaks me. My soul longs for that community back, restoration and healing.

    • Kelly Minter

      I think every church community goes through seasons like these. Not all the people I saw were people who were still at my parent’s church. Some had moved, some found other congregations closer to home or more fitting for them. But the whole of being in church for many, many years, I believe, will be that gift for your girls. Take heart!

      • Brandi Luiz

        Thank you sweet lady. Your words encourage my heart.

  2. Michelle

    What a beautiful moment to be a part of. A legacy of faith that beats on, that is extraordinary.

  3. Missy Neushwander Reinke

    Thank you for this!

  4. Cindy Tinjer

    Wow, Kelly. Thank for writing God’s incredible truth in such an amazing way. JD very much enjoyed meeting you and Mary Katherine today.
    Blessings,
    Cindy

    • Kelly Minter

      Thank you Cindy. Love meeting JD. Thinking you all may need to join us on the Amazon one day 🙂

  5. Kathy Little

    Kelly, Boone Trail Baptist (and Five L’s) continues to be so blessed by you!!! At our monthly counsel meeting in August we read your blog entry on Legacy and built our Bible study and discussion around what you had written. So even when we aren’t doing one of your studies or we don’t have you showing up that month for a live performance and Bible teaching, we still find ways to work us in a little Kelly! We so love you! Truly God has given you such a huge gift of seeing life at such a deep and tender place and then you’re able to express all of this in such a beautifully crafted way. Thank you for continuing to pour into our lives!

    • Hello Hope

      Kathy, I love how you said, “Truly God has given you such a huge gift of seeing life at such a deep and tender place and then you’re able to express all of this in such a beautifully crafted way.” That is exactly how I feel about Kelly, and I’m so glad now to have found her blog! I’m taking away nuggets from this post and will continue coming back for more!

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