Over the last couple of days I have chosen to read some stories of what some people would call heroes of the Christian Church. I have been reading biography’s on people such as Martin Luther. William Tyndale, George Mueller and CS Lewis I guess with the aim of trying to glean something from their lives. All of them had different roles to play in the history of Christianity in the 20th Century. And while those roles were different there was a common thread in their lives and that was that while they have suffered tremendously for their desire to serve God in their community they left us a lasting legacy. History looks back on them favourably and tells that they were right to make the stand they did against popular opinion at the time and the persecution they received was unfair and unjust.
The lesson though I have learnt is that they left a legacy behind that ultimately millions of people have benefited from. A legacy that they didn’t see or probably expect but that their influence over life is still seen today. What challenged me was two things. Where are those people today who are standing up for truth in the face of popular opinion and what legacy am I leaving for my children and their children plus those around me.
We live in a society saturated with heroes or role models whose status is based on celebrity or notoriety rather than anything they have said or done. Their contribution to society hasn’t cost these people anything in fact it has probably added to their status and in many cases wealth. The legacy I am talking about has a cost because it is not popular or conventional even but is right and beneficial to society and future generations.
I am talking about something where my children may say in years to come I admire my Dad because of ….. I look around society for those people, who are quietly going about being influencers in their family and community. Sometimes they are obvious but mostly they are ignored by the vast majority of people. It saddens me that most people give little regard for these people. Imagine if these people were given the prominence that most sports, music and movie people get. Perhaps the values in our community may change. In stead of their self worth coming from fame that a lot of people crave, their significance might be gained from what they selflessly do rather than by who they are.
I want my kids to have me as a role model not some fleeting famous footballer. I want them to admire their church minister not some person in America who is popular. I want them to learn life lessons from the oldies in my congregation not some talking personality on TV. Am I wrong to hope for that?
What can I do to cultivate people around me to be legacy builders? People who will do significant things that will leave behind something bigger than themselves in their field of endeavour and will affect generations to come. What will it take from us to create the opportunities in our family or church or workplace for those people to rise up? This country is crying out for legacy builders or contributors. There are already too many consumers in this society.