Legacy and Eternity

January 13th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 11: 7 (NLT)

7 When the wicked die, their hopes die with them,
      for they rely on their own feeble strength.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I suppose that I think about legacy more than most.  I often speculate about the possibilities of how much or how little my influence would be felt if I were no longer around.  I think about it for my wife and my daughter, wondering what they would remember about me if I were taken away from them.  It may sound morbid, but I doubt if there’s a day that goes by that I don’t at least entertain a passing thought about it.

Concrete reasons are probably elusive, but my best guess is that I think about my own mortality as I do for two reasons.  The first is that when I was a child, I had my fair share of exposure to death.  When you’re a preacher’s kid, any time someone passes away, our family was expected to be at the funeral.  Like any child, I was most certainly terrified of caskets, rickety old funeral homes, and most of all, dead bodies.  Since memory and the sense of smell are so closely related, I even don’t care for the smell of flowers because it takes me back to funeral homes.  But my Dad didn’t let me take the comfortable way out.  He made me go to visitations and funerals and taught me something that greatly affects who I am today: “death is just another part of life.”

Morbid?  Es possible . . . (sorry, I’m working on my Spanish).  Healthy?  I think so.  Death, you see, is a part of life because it’s a universal experience.  I know that it almost always surprises us, but we can all be assured that it’s coming.  The reaction to this sober realization can be one of two things: we can tremble and fret and lock ourselves away from harm’s way hoping to delay the inevitable . . . robbing our lives of any joy and adventure that might be found because of the fear of the unknown.  Or, we can live with the knowledge that death is coming, trusting that the One who is making those decisions will make the best one for us.

The other event that has made me cognizant of my mortality is that I faced death early on in my adult life . . . face to face.  Most of you probably know our story, but to make it short my wife, Laura, went through a brain aneurysm and three surgeries when we were only a few short months away from getting married.  It was a life-changing, perspective-altering event that has made both of us think about the other side probably a little more than most people our age.

Do I worry about it?  Sometimes.  Do I dwell on the tragedy and the loss of what could happen?  I try not to.  But the bottom line is that I live with the knowledge that this part of my existence is a temporary run.  I do pray and ask God to extend it as long as possible, but I know that it is only for a season . . . a very important season.

The crucial piece of information that makes it all worthwhile is the trust that my purpose extends past this temporary stage of my life called earth.  I think that many of us think about heaven in terms of floating clouds, tiny harps, and boring halos.  Snooze-fest!  However, the Bible alludes to the reality that our purpose will continue and even grow in the next stage of our life that is called eternity.  Our creativity.  Our relational spirits.  Even work that we will accomplish.  

How will all of this look?  Well, I’d have to go there to answer that question and if I did, then you wouldn’t be able to hear me when I answered it.  Sorry, we just don’t know in full.  But, what we know in part is enough to help us live this part of our lives to the fullest because we know that our legacy is eternal.

That’s what makes this passage so true and tragic: “When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.”  Without the hope of eternity, our hopes would die along with our bodies.  Hence, the desire to not be “wicked,” but rather to be made holy by the sacrifice and free gift of Jesus is of the utmost importance.  

A life lived for the sake of eternal legacy must not rely on temporary, human, “feeble strength” to sustain one’s purpose.  Only the strength of the Eternal One can make our lives make sense for eternity. 


~ by johndriver on January 12, 2009.

One Response to “Legacy and Eternity”

  1. This passage is probably one of my favorite. Ive always been interested about the mystery of the after life. Knowing that it is impossible to know exactly what is beyond this life. Yet, it excites me and i try to use it as motivation.
    The word “wicked” is a word that is frowned upon by most if not all of the world today. No one wants to be called “wicked”, yet its so easy to become one because its our nature. Its easy to say im a christian and not “wicked”, but i have to control my actions to back that up.
    The fact that there is an end to this life is terrifying, but can be overcome by love and trust to God. Im not saying im ready for the reaping, but when im called to see Jesus, you can bet your marbles ill be scared of what my past has done to me. That being said, i repent everyday for what ive done to offend God. This is not only out of fear, but out of wanting to be close to God. This goes along with prayer, after Pastor Andrew’s sermon from Sunday, Im more eager to pray and talk to God.

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