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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Legacy Of Faith?

I heard something recently that gave me pause.

>This moment will never come again.<

Not exactly earth-shaking. It's a fact of science. You can never reclaim lost time. Parents, teachers and preachers have used this statement for generations to encourage and motivate others to greater achievement. But then I heard something else not long ago that, when coupled with the above truth, can define the very shape of our faith.

>We pray that God will use us until He takes us Home, because after that, it's too late.<

I had to disagree with that to some degree. Whether or not God uses us is really up to us. We can allow God to use us, or not. But if our life is given over to Him as a vessel for Him to fill and pour out, He can continue to refill that vessel long after we leave this earth. Once God takes us Home, we no longer have the opportunity to commit acts of service or obedience, but that doesn't mean God won't continue to use our testimony.

Think of some godly person who's already gone, who left a legacy of faith behind for others to follow. Every time we remember that person, we remember their faith, their depth of trust, their degree of hope and their faithfulness. We remember how much they loved God, and their testimony becomes a roadmap for us to follow, encouragement to persevere in the midst of adversity, and a pattern to trace when we falter. God can continue to use our testimony even after He's taken us to heaven. But it all depends on what we choose to do with this moment that will never come again.

When the sun shines on an object, its shadow is cast in the same shape. Looking at the shadow, we know what the object is without looking at the actual object itself. After God takes one of His children home, the legacy left behind is much like a shadow. There's no need to see the person to understand their testimony. We can trace the shape of their faith by simply remembering how they loved God and how they served Him.

Every day is a new opportunity to do something for God. But one doesn't need to stand in the pulpit and preach to thousands, or go to the mission field and suffer hardship to reach the lost in order to be used of God. As wonderful as those callings are, an act of service or a tiny step of obedience can also be something as small as smiling at a child, comforting a grieving friend, responding in kindness to someone who lashed out at us, or giving the proverbial cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. Allowing Jesus to live through us, those fleeting moments become part of our shadow.

What legacy of faith am I leaving behind? While it may be the desire of my heart for God to use whatever feeble efforts I give as an offering in this finite body, what I leave behind is far more important. If my family and loved ones are going to know what defined my faith after I'm gone, it is vital that I leave a roadmap--a shadow shaped like Jesus--for them to follow. In that way, God can continue to use me after He's taken me home to heaven. Oh how I pray I don't squander the moments.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.