The Legacy
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Psa 90:10 KJV) The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Let us face it, our present generation is coming to a close. What I mean by that is the clock continues to move forward. When I became a Christian, I was 27 years old and today as I write this article I am 58 years old. When we finally pass from the scene, what will be the legacy that we will leave behind? Basically, what will we be remembered for? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a legacy as follows:
ďSomething transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the pastĒ
The legacy we leave behind is normally summed up on our tombstone with a Ē-Ē, that is, with a hyphen. If you have ever visited an old cemetery, they used to place a little about the person on the tombstone, either in a little poem or a Scripture verse which may have described their Christian walk. Today, all that is placed on the tombstone is just a birth year, then the hyphen, and then the year of death. Nothing is said about what we did or who we were. We will be remembered for what we did within the confines of that hyphen.
What Scripture verse will describe you?
(Prov 18:9 KJV) He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
(Prov 22:29 KJV) Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Will people remember you as one who was lazy concerning the work of the Lord or will you be remembered as one who was diligent in the Lordís work. It is unfortunate that many Christians have adopted a very lazy mindset by thinking that going to church is the only requirement God has for the true believer. I know people that if you asked me what their ministry was, I could not tell you. What if the Lord reviewed your life of service in front of all the other believers in Heaven? In front of Christians like the Apostle Paul? Peter? Martin Luther? How would they look at what you have accomplished for the Lord in this world? Would they see you walking around with an MP3 player stuck in your ear just playing music?
Or would they see you being diligent in service to the Lord Jesus Christ? In the time we live in, there seems to be an umbrella of apathy hanging over Christianity. It seems Christians do not want to get involved in anything except complaint groups about how sin seems to be winning. If more Christians were involved, then sin would have a hard time progressing. But in this article I want to focus mainly on you, the individual who is reading this monograph. This is a personal message for believers to assess their life and if it is found wanting in service to the Lord, it is never too late to begin to serve the Lord.
The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that they were to bear much fruit. (John 15:8 KJV) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. Now it must be understood that we do not save anyone, it is God who totally does the saving. Our responsibility is to be faithful in propagating the Gospel to the world. Faithfulness in fulfilling the Great Commission is a great part of our testimony. Will we be remembered as being faithful? A disciple who does not bear any fruit or who is less than faithful in their Christians walk, is basically useless to the cause of Christ.
Just recently a man in Oakland, California named Harold Camping had declared that May 21, 2011 was going to be the rapture of all believers and then there would be a period of five months of terrible tribulation on the earth. Now it is obvious that this did not come to pass because you are reading this monograph. The frightful reality in following anyone with a false gospel is that the years you waste following a false teacher can never be reclaimed. Within the group that followed this man, there were those who gave their lives over totally to the date setting sham for ten years, in fact, I know one person who has spent twenty three years on a biblical calendar which also focused on May 21, 2011. As you can see that these people have lost all that time in propagating a false gospel. They handed out tracts and put up billboards and painted their vehicles as rolling freak shows. They did this in response to a false gospel which means all their efforts were completely wasted. You might say that God sees the fact that they are zealous in wanting to get the message out. Well letís apply that as a general principle to just two groups. The Mormons go out two by two on bicycles and the Jehovahís Witnesses go door to door. One could definitely claim they are very zealous but that is totally misdirected zeal because both of these groups are spreading a false gospel, so their zeal is not toward God but toward Satan and his deceptions.
(1 Cor 3:12 KJV) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; They built their lives on wood, hay, and stubble instead of the precious stones of the true Gospel of Christ. At this moment, they are still following Camping because he has declared a new date. What kind of legacy are these people leaving for their children? They are leaving their children a legacy of lies and deceit. Instead of the parents sitting the children down and telling them that they were wrong in following this man, they continue to live in the deceit of the past ten years. This is the grave mistake that many Christians fall into. Instead of them doing their own Bible studies without the commentary from their favorite preacher or teacher, they accept whatever the person is teaching.
Then the preacher states that all they are doing is teaching the Bible, but in reality he is asking his hearers not to believe the Bible but to believe what he says the Bible says. It is at this point that you must exercise discernment as to what is being taught. I am not saying that whenever anybody interprets the Bible, they are always wrong or false. What I am saying is that one needs to check out their statement against Scripture. Whenever a teacher or preacher wants you to study the Bible with a buffer, that is, something which comes between the pages of Scripture and your understanding, such as their books or commentaries, then that is a red flag which needs to go up. True Bible study is having no buffer between Godís words and your understanding. The Holy Spirit was given to interpret the Bible, not to interpret commentaries or inject them into the meaning, the works of menís hands.
The legacy which these people are going to leave their children and those around them is that they were faithful in following a man who was faithless in his teachings. They are also teaching their children they lacked courage to forsake this man and his deceits. This will train those children that courage is not a part of Christianity and which means the next generation of mindless followers are being prepared. However, when we look back in church history at such men like Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, John Hus, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther, we see that courage was in the forefront of their testimonies. Mindless following is nowhere found as a Christian attribute in Scripture but just the opposite is found and taught. (Acts 17:6 KJV) And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
There is also another group of Christians who will be leaving a legacy and that is the single Christians. How will you be remembered, as one who edified or mystified? As single Christians, we may not have families to influence except the ones we are born into. Over the years we have amassed many friendships and may have influenced many of them in different areas of their Christian walk. Will those whose lives we were involved in, remember us an influence for good in their life? On the other side of the coin, have you chosen to become involved in Christian service or have you just been sitting in front of dating sites looking for the right one to come along. What kind of testimony will people associate you with, a faithful one or an invisible one?
Too many single Christians think that they have nothing to contribute and that is Satanís trap, getting you to believe that because you do not have a spouse, you are unfit for Christian service. The Apostle Paul was single, did he influence anyone? Timothy was single, didnít he have a good ministry in the church in Ephesus? We still read about Onesimus who was a great support to Paul while he was in a Roman prison. The spiritual legacies these man left speaks for themselves. We will never know how many people we have influenced for the sake of Christ over the years. Have you given money to missions or for missionary helps such as Bibles or tracts? If you did, your spiritual legacy reaches around the world. If you have not, then start today because there is much ground to cover. (Josh 13:1 KJV) Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. Joshua was old and realized that there was still much land to be possessed as the Lord told him. The fact that we are still here on earth, means there is still land to be possessed, that is, there are still many souls which the Lord plans to save that need to be reached with the Gospel.
The bottom line is that we are going to be remembered, but how we are remembered depends upon how involved we were in the Lordís work. Will someone point to your memory and say they would not want to be like you or would they say that they would love to be like you, faithful in all his ways to the Lord. A spiritual legacy goes far beyond a will and earthly goods because they are fleeting. When our children look back on us, will they want to be like us or will they run in the opposite direction? Those friendships we made during the years of our sojourn, will they be saddened by our departure or will they be glad? Have we borne much fruit for the Kingdom of God or did we walk through this life just focusing on our own needs and desires? The final question is, what will we present to the Lord for 20, 30, 50 years of being saved? I hope that if your Christian walk is empty, you will determine right now, that you will begin a life of faithful service to the Lord. Not tomorrow, but today!