My pastor has been leading us through 1 Peter for a little while now. His latest sermon title was “Legacy Living In Your Last Days”. That was on Sunday. It’s the middle of the week now and I’m still working my way through parts of what he taught us from Chapter 4, verses 7-11.
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 4: 7-11 (ESV: English Standard Version 2016)
The title, alone, was enough to give me pause. It was early, I was tired, and we’re all getting older by the minute, but…our last days? Who wants to think about that?! Maybe a better question is, “Shouldn’t we have already been thinking about that–especially if we have any ideas about leaving a legacy behind us?” That word “legacy” is a hefty one. It implies leaving a gift of significant value and to do that, we need be living a legacy-worthy life today. That’s a lot to take in during the early service after a later-than-usual night watching college football. (Just keeping it real.)
When Pastor Jason got to verse 8 about how we’re supposed to love one another, he referenced Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount about how we’re to love others the same way we love ourselves. I’ll be honest and say my brain checked out for a little bit as I began to pray for some of the people I know who struggle with that. They actually seem to find it much easier to love others than they do to love themselves. It doesn’t matter what their “reasons” for that are. What matters is that, although they may have laid claim to the fact that God loves and forgives them…they just haven’t quite been able to forgive themselves.
That’s a tough road: trying to carry something that God’s already removed and hang on to things He’s already covered up and thrown away as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)! It’s hard to find peace when you do that sort of thing. You know what that’s like. We’ve all been there at some point. Some of us more than once. The important thing is that GOD has a living legacy of love and forgiveness that He wants to share with us every single day. When we really get to know Him as He has shared Himself in Scripture, we realize He can be trusted…with everything.
The other thing we’d be wise to remember is that God has no last days. He is eternal–and as up close and personal as He desires to be with each of us!–He is never going to sit around just noodling over how much we might have messed up and wringing His hands over how He’ll never be able to overlook it. The fact is, He can’t overlook sin. As Holy God, He just can’t tolerate it…and that’s why He He made a plan to get rid of it: He sent Jesus to us for that. His sin-covering death on the cross makes it possible for us to do a lot more than hold our heads up. It means we have the ability to crawl right up into the heart of Almighty God and revel in the peace of being completely His. It’s called grace…and we ALL need it.
When we accept that part, life gets a lot simpler. In truth, so does legacy living. Whether you know it or not, you’re already doing some legacy living. The question is whether or not the legacy you’re living is the one you actually want to share and leave behind for those you love and those who still need Jesus.
What does your legacy-living look like? How well are you loving others and how well are you loving YOU? Does your life share the truth about God’s all-encompassing love and His unparalleled abilty to forgive or have you been hinting to others that He might have some limits after all–that He can somehow forgive and restore everyone but you? Don’t kid yourself. People know what you believe by how you live. Some of them may even make eternal spiritual decisions based on what they see rather than what they hear. What if they begin to believe “your God-limits” apply to them, as well? That’s why it is critical that our legacy-living be in line with Scripture in every way.
So, what’s your legacy going to be OR, as Pastor Jason concluded His Sunday sermon, “How are you honoring God today?” because your life and your legacy ought to do that very thing.
Grace and Peace!