Social networks, radio stations, television programs, newspapers, and the Internet have been abuzz this weekend with the sad news that Whitney Houston, one of America’s greatest singers of all time, has died at the age of 48. In Colorado Springs last week, many mourned the sudden death of a 57-year-old local sportscaster and disc jockey who had made an impact here for some 30 years. We’ve all been surprised, at one time or another, to learn of the untimely passing of some legendary pastor or evangelist. You probably have someone in your congregation — well known or not — for whom you recently performed a funeral or memorial service. Life is fragile, and none of us knows how much time we have left.
Entertainment reporters today are wondering whether Whitney Houston will be most remembered for her love of life, that amazing voice, and the songs she has left with us or for the downward spiral her life took in its later years — for her successes or her tragedies?
Whenever one of our colleagues leaves the ministry or is called home by the Lord, I wonder once again about my/our/your legacy. We work so diligently only to see it all eventually end. Does that make it all in vain, as Solomon postulated? I don’t think so. The conclusion I have drawn is that we build our legacies one day at a time. Therefore, we need to make the most of each day God allows us because no one really knows what tomorrow will bring.
What will they say about you when you are gone? Oh, your name will appear on the long list of pastors who have served your church. Your picture might be placed in the foyer or your name given to a room, but for what will you be most remembered? I think it depends on what you do today, then tomorrow. In the eternal records, your legacy will be who you have faithfully been and what you have continuously done to glorify the Lord.
That’s why it bothers me to hear those in the clergy, especially local pastors, lament about their present situations. They live in the world of “if only” and “why not me?” They really need to be careful because their discouragement may become their legacy. And they need to begin reshaping their reputations now. If they were gone tomorrow, there would be another filling those pulpits on Sunday. None of us is indispensable. We can all be replaced.
But we will all be remembered, too. What reputation do you seek? Will you be known as one who always represented God well, whether or not it was in the spotlight? Most importantly, what will your legacy be with Him? What will He say to you when you meet Him face to face? I hope it will be, “Well done, faithful servant.”
So, what do you say? Let’s do the best we can today! Let’s determine not to coast or simply go through the motions. Have a plan for each day. Do things that matter and give you deep satisfaction. Value people just as the Lord does, and help them feel good about themselves. Be thankful for your family. And, when the day is done, give God the glory. We will all be remembered for something, so let’s be and do something meaningful today!
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm” (Psalm 37:23).
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