Leave Boldly // Day 23

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.  — William James

As we begin the final part of our Lent Experience and focus on the principle of leaving boldly, it is so important to understand the investment required to leave a lasting legacy before it’s too late. If you only had one month to live, you could make some changes that would improve what you left behind. But how much better to know that you’re contributing to your legacy every day over many months and years and that all you’re working for will last for eternity. The only way to create this kind of lasting legacy is to pour your most valuable resources into the investments with the greatest returns: people. Our relationships are the only investment that can’t be destroyed by a fire or natural disaster or be lost in the stock market.

To leave a lasting legacy I need to evaluate my life in three important areas. These are tests that will measure the legacy I leave. The first is the influence test. We’ve all been given limited number of opportunities to influence others and make a difference in their lives. God has invested in each of us the ability to influence others, and He expects a return on His investment. He wants us to take advantage of our opportunities rather than burying our heads in the sand and ignoring our responsibility to make a difference in the lives of others.

Sometimes people are more concerned with making a name for themselves than making an impact on others. They think, If people know my name, then I’ll be significant and fulfilled. Abraham Lincoln wisely observed, “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” My life, my time, is not my own. It belongs to Christ, and it’s His name that will last; only when I live to influence others for Him will I leave an enduring legacy. You and I will be forgotten one day. Only what we do for God, how we fulfill the purpose for which He made us will remain.

Not only must we pass the influence evaluation to leave a lasting legacy, but we must pass the affluence inspection as well. If you’re going to have an impact on eternity, you have to consider how you spend your material resources. You may be tempted to think, Wait a minute, I’m barely getting by. I’m certainly not affluent! This must apply only to wealthy folks. I understand where you’re coming from, but with very few exceptions, if you can read and have food and clothing, you’re considered affluent by the rest of the world.

Passing the affluence inspection is not as dependent on the amount of money you have as what you do with it. Jesus told a story about a guy who failed this test miserably. He was a businessman, and his barns were full, so he said, “I’ll expand my business and be even more successful.” Just take a look at the consequences: “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:19-21).

God said, “No, you won’t expand your business. It’s over. You’re out of here. The life you’re building didn’t pass the affluence inspection. I blessed you, and you used all the blessings on yourself. You failed the most important evaluation of your life.” Every one of us has to pass the affluence test because God will one day hold us accountable for how we used the resources we were given.

The only way to pass the affluence test is by giving. We must learn to be givers rather than takers so we can make a difference. If we keep all that we own and earn only for ourselves, then we fail the affluence test. God wants us to be channels of His blessings, and if He finds that He can trust us, that we’re obeying Him in this area, then He knows He can continue to bless us. On the other hand, why would God want to bless us anymore if we’re just going to hoard everything He gives us? If we cling tightly to what He entrusts to us, then we become like the man building bigger barns. It’s only when we gratefully use what He gives us to bless those around us that we build a storehouse of eternal treasure.

Finally there’s the obedience exam. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:15-17, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (NLT). This may be the greatest secret to leaving a legacy of substance: try to understand what the Lord wants you to do – and do it. Obey God, because He gives you just enough time to do everything you need to do, both in your day and in your life. Note that He doesn’t give you enough time to do everything that others think you need to do. To find out what God wants you to do; you have to spend time with Him and listen to Him, and then obey.

There are thousands of things we can do in life, but there are only a few things God intends for us to accomplish. When I live out His plan for me, everything falls into place. It seems as if He multiplies my time and I’m much more productive. Obedience always leads to blessing. When you use your influence and affluence to obey God, He will enable you to leave a lasting legacy.

Personal Challenge

1. List the three tests described here – influence, affluence, and obedience – and give yourself a grade on each one. In which area do you struggle the most? In which do you think you’re doing well? What would your life have to look like for you to achieve an A+ in each one?

2. Review your calendar for last month. How much of your time was spent on temporary goals? How much on an eternal legacy? Look over your checkbook and credit-card statements. How much of your money was spent on temporary things? How much on eternal investments? Consider at least one way in the week ahead that you can invest in an eternal legacy.

3. Write an obituary. Start with what your life has been so far and then continue it well into the future. What do you want to be known for when you pass on? What legacy will you leave in your relationships?

  • Leah MacPherson

    Site says wow. It’s quiet here…Be the first to start the conversation! Well, we’re working on our obits–tough soul searching stuff. Thank you for your ministry-for teaching us AND challenging us to grow in our faith!

  • susan

    The rose bush wouldn’t grow no roses 13 years ago.
    epsom salt has the rose bush growin beautiful red
    velvet roses. Nothing no other food would grow such
    beautiful roses.
    These personal challenges have been great!
    But these ones are pushing me,
    I will do them though! God is awesome. Our church is
    Great! Thank You! @-><——