Day: Wednesday, September 14th
Place: Mom’s house
Mood: humbled, intimidated, excited, empowered, motivated
Not too long ago I remember hearing the clomping of shoes on the hardwood floors, and when I turned around I saw my little Marley girl wearing my shoes, running and squealing with delight. The kind of squeal that comes when she thinks she is doing something she is not supposed to be doing and getting away with it.
It got me to thinking… Do I really want her walking in my shoes? Would I be proud if she followed in my footsteps?
My shoes are obviously too big for her and it made me wonder if one day when I am gone if people will say, “”Those are gonna be big shoes to fill.””
What kind of legacy am I leaving behind?
The book, Find us Faithful: Leadership that Leaves a legacy, has challenged me to live every day in the light of my farewell address. A farewell address is not like an end of dinner speech; it is a solid statement and declaration of the God-given priorities and passions in our life.
Time goes by fast. It feels like yesterday was the first of September, and we are already half-way through. If we don’t live purposefully, with a plan, and with the end in sight – life will pass us by and what will we have to say at the end? I ran out of time…?… I was too busy…?… I let people not Jesus dictate the course of my life?
More than anything, I hope I can speak with the certainty, confidence, and integrity that Paul did in Acts 20:18-35.
He said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Paul led by example. He was consistent. He said you know how I lived “THE WHOLE TIME.” Paul was not controlled by circumstances, people, money, fear, guilt, suffering, hardship, or shame. He only cared about completing the task that the LORD JESUS gave him. He lived and carried out his ministry consistently. He didn’’t work extra hard when people appreciated him and he did not turn it up a notch when he wanted a pay raise.
Not only did Paul say and teach the right things, HE DID THEM. Paul did not just talk, pray or dream – HE ACTED. When it was his time to leave, he had equipped those around him to continue his work through mentoring them, teaching them, and the way he lived his daily life. He said, “I have shown you “, meaning I left you an example and you know what I say is true, and he exhorted all those he left behind to follow in his footsteps. “Now I commit you to God and the word of his grace, which can build you up…” His legacy continued even after he was gone.
In my bedroom at home I have a vision wall. On my wall it states that I want to be a modern-day Paul. That is intimidating to me, but the legacy Paul left behind is the legacy I want to leave as well. When Paul left, I know people had to be thinking, “those are gonna be some big shoes to fill.” But I believe Paul would be the first to tell me, ““I am just an ordinary man, in fact before I began my walk with Christ I murdered Christians. God specializes in using ordinary people to do extraordinary things and not by your power but through God’s you will be able to live a life that leaves a legacy worth following.””
It is my prayer that whoever fills my shoes will run and squeal with delight, not because they are doing something they are not supposed to do and getting away with it, but because I left a legacy that changed lives and was proof of the love and mercy of my Savior. I hope whoever chooses to follow in my footsteps will squeal with delight just as I have done while discovering the power of God’s grace and goodness.
One of the greatest compliments I have ever received came from my dear friend and mentor Susan, ““If any person would be chosen to influence my daughter, it would definitely be this person.”” It still brings tears to my eyes.
Marley, Zoe, Becca, Mollie, Kylie, Madison, and all the other little girls out there who have touched my life in a powerful way, I just want you to know that you are my motivation. Because of you I am careful of the steps that I take. You are the reason I want to leave a legacy worth following. I believe in each and every one of you and cannot wait to see how God uses you to change the world. I hope one day that you will feel blessed to walk “In my shoes.”
“”We never know how much time we have in any given relationship, responsibility, ministry, or situation. And because of the awareness of the potential brevity of any season, we need to determine what really matters, what really counts, and what really must be done. We must be occupied faithfully with what God wants us to be and do in any given relationship or situation before we have to say, “Good Bye”.” -David Olford, author of Find us Faithful: Leadership that Leaves a Legacy.