The legacy you leave is the life you lead. [1]

For a long time I did not think about leaving a legacy. It seemed arrogant to me that I should leave a legacy.  What do I claim as my legacy? A building maybe? We did erect a building for the church that we started and pastored, but I didn’t build that building — we built that building. The elders and staff worked together to communicate the need, the people responded with time and money, but the Lord built the building. Since I left, the church erected two additional buildings totally without me. Others may claim a building as their legacy, but I don’t think I can.

Could I claim an institution, maybe that church my wife and I started with three other couples? How can that be my legacy since we couldn’t have done it without the other three couples and all those who stepped forward with us? It is as amazing now as it was then to think of the many people who committed to what they could not see to do what they could not do and accomplish the impossible. Once again I didn’t start that church; we started it. In fact, apart from the enabling power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling presence of Christ, there is nothing that I have done.

I have always thought that the greatest legacy I could leave is to be obedient. However, I’ve also come to realize that if I focus my obedience in a specific way I can leave a legacy of glory. I learned that from reading our Lord’s prayer for the restoration of His glory in John 17. Consider His words when He said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you (Jn. 17:1).” Significant, isn’t it, that even the Son did not seek glory for Himself, but to glorify the Father? Why should the Father glorify the Son? Because as He said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began (Jn. 17:4-5).” Jesus glorified the Father by obeying Him, yet He did more than just obey; He focused His obedience as He declared when He stated, “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world (Jn. 17:6).” The legacy of our Lord’s obedience was the men He left behind through the life He led, and that was a legacy of glory for Him because that obedience qualified Him to have His glory restored after a lifetime of humiliation.

Now that’s a legacy worth living for. Not a building or an institution, but living men and women who carry on His mission for His glory. I cannot do this by myself, but I can focus my obedience so the aroma of Christ impacts others and they choose to live for Him. There is no glory for me, of course, but there is great glory for Him because only He can do this through me. You see, Jesus is still revealing the Father to those whom the Father has given Him, now through us, and we can leave a legacy of glory as we influence others to live for Him. It is not my glory, but His glory reflected through me; it is not my legacy, but His legacy continuing through me. There is no greater legacy than this.

How can I leave this legacy? By living the same way Christ lived through His presence in me. To do this I want to observe seven ways that Jesus the man lived. In focusing on His humanity, I have no intention of turning from His deity. Jesus is God — not was or will be, but is. There is never a time when Jesus is not God, and He had both God’s nature and human nature unmixed within Him during His incarnation.  Yet He was man, and I am concerned that we sometimes are afraid to focus on Jesus the man for fear that we will somehow denigrate His deity. The New Testament has no such fears as it describes Him in very human terms even as Peter did when he called Him “a man accredited by God ... (Acts 2:21),” on the Day of Pentecost. I want us to see seven realities about this man that resulted in His legacy of glory and that can give us a legacy of glory as well when we depend on Him to live the same way.