Well, all day I’ve been working on and thinking about this legacy talk. Some people on the YS boards don’t think that legacy thinking is important. One person quoted Rich Mullins and said, “leaving a legacy is fleshly.” Really? I don’t think so. I maintain that millions of people come and go on this planet with no legacy because they never desired to leave one.
Another helpful thought. All people, on some level, and especially those in leadership, leave a legacy of some kind. In my opinion, it’s your rationale choice to build a positive one.
Not every person gets to leave a legacy
? Millions of people come and go… with no real legacy left to show for it.
? Theirs is a lifestyle of mediocrity. Perhaps they were well liked at work, married a long time, raised some kids, worked real hard and had a good life. But at the end of the day, there passing is just a name on a sign as people drive by or a small obituary in a local newspaper.
? For many of us, this is our reality. We are stuck thinking that we will live our lives with no legacy, at least not a positive one. We fear that our lives will be judged by failure. We fear this so much that we are paralyzed into doing nothing.
? We never make waves in the world
? We quietly blend in
? We have to introduce ourselves to people all the time, no one ever introduces us
? We have some ideas, but never feel like we can voice them and lack the confidence to step out on our own.
? When we pass on, or even move away people are sad for a moment… but they quickly move on.
? But for others, a legacy is born when a person moves on that lasts generations.
? There are 3 kinds of these people
o Abe Lincoln- brought a broken nation together
o Thomas Jefferson- wrote words that govern us today
o JFK- Took us to the moon, led a generation to dream big
o MLK- Spoke for the little guy, his dream carries on in the hearts and minds of minority peoples everywhere.
? When these men died, nations stopped. Millions took notice. The nation mourned together. A generation of people can mark the moment when they heard the news that that person had died. Public memorials were built, institutions sprung up to bear their name and legacy. Streets and schools are re-named.
• Personal legacy bearers
o Barney Hazen
? Kristen’s grandfather.
? Had two jobs his whole adult life
? Sang in the church choir for decades
? Was the churches gardener for as long as anyone could remember
? Though I barely knew him, I was deeply effected by the massive outpouring of love to mark his death
? He quietly, even secretly, served and looked out for others. He helped many and led many to Jesus.
? My son bears his legacy.
o Larry Wendt
? We see his legacy alive and well in his sons today.
? The faithfulness he displayed in his life is being carried out by Sean and Eric, they don’t have to think about it… they just do it.
• Biblical legacies
o Moses, Joseph, Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, The list goes on and on…
Tonight we have a chance to look at the legacy of Joshua, the leader of Israel through it’s most triumphant time in history. It’s found in the last chapter of the book bearing his name, Joshua 24.
Before we get too far, it’s good to take a look at an evaluation that’s written of his life and legacy.
Joshua 24:31- “Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.”
There is no higher compliment for a man then that, is there?
No president, or athlete, or preacher or king has left a legacy quite like Joshua’s.
But what is this legacy?
Read Joshua 24:1
In the following verse, Joshua rehashed all the God has done for the nation of Israel from the time of Abraham until that very moment.
Having covered all of that history, of mans victories and failures, or God’s tremendous faithfulness and terrible judgements… he leaves them with this challenge.
Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”
– Here Joshua was stating something that all of us have to deal with as well.
– You must each make an individual decision that you must act on… are you going to serve God?
In the second half of 24:15, we see Joshua’s simple phrase that shaped many that day. He says, “Y’all can do what you want, but me and my people… we’re going to follow the Lord.”
This is something that each of us have the chance to do in our own lives and in our own families. Why? Because it’s an individual commitment!
– It’s not dependent on your parents faithfulness, but on your own.
– It doesn’t matter that you meet people who are hypocrites who use the name of Jesus
– When you make an individual choice to follow the Lord, it’s not dependent on anyone else… but you and your actions.
Then something weird happened.
Joshua throws down his gauntlet, says “Y’all can do what you want, but me and my people… we’re going to follow the Lord.”
Joshua didn’t say this like it was at a pep rally or anything… but he got a pep rally response!
So Joshua was said “Y’all can do what you want, but me and my people… we’re going to follow the Lord.”
And the people said “So are we!”
And Joshua says “You better not say that unless you mean it!”
And they say “We mean it!”
And Joshua says “Well, if you mean it and go back on your word… God’s going to punish you.”
They say “No, you don’t understand…. We want to be like you. We will follow the Lord!”
So Joshua and the people got together and drew up a promise, a covenant that they made that day.
Read Joshua 24:16-24.
We all have that choice to make, don’t we?
I’m not talking about the choice of whether to become a Christian or not.
Those people back there in Joshua’s keep weren’t going to cease being God’s people if they didn’t make this covenant. But this was a rationale choice they were making between themselves and God… a covenant to follow God.
Again, we see Joshua’s legacy in 24:31, “Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.”
Tonight, I want to ask you to make a decision like that.
I want you to be able to point to tonight as a moment where your legacy starts.
Where you make an individual decision to follow the Lord.
A line in the sand where you can say “yesterday… I did things different. But tonight, I want to give myself over to the Lord.”
I want to make an individual choice.
In the next few minutes, we’re going to give you some time to make that choice. We’re all going to close our eyes and quietly reflect. And if you want to, and I mean really want to, we’re going to give you the chance to stand up and come up here… then when the music fades, we’re all going to stand here and pray for you by name…