28 January 2011

What's Your Legacy?

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Mark 10:44-47

Recently we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. During the day, we heard many people recite some of his famous speeches and one quote that stuck with me was “One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at the goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.” MLK was a Baptist minister and spokesman for non-violent activism in the civil rights movement. He was also one of the youngest people to receive the Noel peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination. He is a person that the world remembers.

Mother Teresa was a humanitarian nun who ministered to the “outcasts” in the slums of Calcutta. What I find amazing is that by the age of 12 she already felt that she had a calling for the very work she would pursue until her dying day. Mother Teresa made a difference in our world – from shelters for the dying to orphanages, and homes for the mentally ill, but her deepest passion was always service to the poorest of poor. Mother Teresa once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” She is a person that the world remembers.

Rich Mullins, American Contemporary Christian music singer and songwriter, left us with so many great praise and worship songs, such as “Awesome God.” He also has a song entitled “Peace” and one of the phrases that caught my attention was ... “Peace of Christ to you, and may peace rain down from Heaven, like little pieces of the sky....” The lyrics go on to talk about reaching out to a stranger... I love it! I’ve put a link on my Resource Page so you can listen to the entire song. His life was cut short, but his music continues to inspire us. He is a person that the world remembers.

Can you think of someone in your life that has inspired you, but is no longer walking on earth?  For me, one of those people was a young boy named Mattie Stepanik. Mattie first became known when Oprah discovered his poetry and learned about his battle with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. His books, appropriately named “Heartsongs” contain poems with great insight for someone with such a young heart. Mattie became a peace advocate and even lobbied on Capitol Hill on behalf of peace, people with disabilities, and children with life-threatening conditions. In 2004, one month before his 14 birthday, Mattie lost the battle with his illness, but his words continue to offer hope and encouragement to others. He is a young boy that the world remembers.

Another person that has inspired my life was my grandmother. She was a woman with a gentle spirit and a strong faith. She did not talk about religion or her beliefs, but she shared her faith in simple ways... by loving others. She read her Bible, went out of her way to help others, and made a difference in the lives of her grandchildren. Psalm 78:4 says: “We will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done.” She is a person the world remembers.

Jesus fulfilled his purpose here on earth. He made the poor, the hungry, the sick, the broken and hurting his “priority.” He also passed on His teachings to his disciples and commissioned them to go and serve others. Even today, His Word continues to teach us, and His same words commission us .... to love, to serve, to be a witness. Jesus was the “perfect” example of a humble servant, making a difference in the lives of those he came in contact with.  Now, HE is someone the world remembers!

Colossians 1:6 tells us, “This same good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours.” What work are you doing for God’s kingdom here on earth? What legacy will you leave behind?

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... Action Required... In his book “Out Live Your Life," author Max Lucado says, “You’ve been given your life. No one else has your version. Your life will never be lived by anyone else.” So my question to you is... are you just out “living” your life, or is it your goal to “outlive” your life?

We all hope that our life reflects a Christ-like walk, that we are a witness to others. Max Lucado’s book really got me thinking about my legacy. What impact will my life have after I am gone? In his book, Lucado asks us to consider the answers to two important questions:

1. Who is it that you feel the most comfortable around? Is it the homeless, sick, elderly, college students, young children? Think about the words of Romans 12:6... “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”
2. What breaks your heart? Do you have an overflowing compassion for Haiti, the military serving our country, children with special needs? Think about he words of Psalm 33:13, 15... “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.”

I hope I am making a difference in the lives of my grandchildren. Our relationship isn’t always an easy one because we live such a long distance from each other. So, when I can’t be around them, I pray unceasingly for each of their individual needs. (A wonderful resource I use is my Grandmother’s Bible which offers short devotions and prayers for specific needs of grandchildren).  Another way I feel that I am making a difference in the world is by sponsoring a child from Ethiopia through World Vision. What a blessing, to think that God could use me, just as I am to help others in a desperately hurting world. My heart breaks for those who are critically ill and in the end stages of their lives, so I serve as a Hospice volunteer. I offer these examples with a very humble heart. I am always amazed at what God can do if only I am willing to say, “Here I am Lord, Send Me.”

We are given choices, opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. Lucado puts it this way,“Here’s a salute to a long life: goodness that outlives the grave, love that outlasts the final breath. May you live in such a way that your death is just the beginning of your life.”

As you “sparkle” in ways that are just perfectly suited to the person God has created you to be, I will be praying for not only your work here on earth, but also the legacy you will leave behind. I would love to hear some of the ways you are choosing to “Outlive Your Life.”

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“While we are living in the present, we must celebrate life every day,
knowing that we are becoming history with every work,
every action, every deed.”   - Mattie Stepanek

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