I don't mean to a downer but part of being real is writing about your current journey. The past six weeks have given me a very real reminder that everyone's days on this planet are numbered. A few weeks ago I wrote about the passing of a wonderful and godly woman, Joan Horner. A few days before Christmas I was saddened to hear that my friend Russ Korth had died suddenly.
Russ Korth possessed one of the keenest and most mischievous minds that I have ever encountered. Joni and I were part of a Southern California Bible study with Russ over three decades ago. I learned quickly that you didn't throw down your own interpretation of Scripture or an unfounded theological idea around Russ. He would immediately start asking questions about your comments. Soon you realized that you had painted yourself into the theological corner and Russ would smile that big smile and help you work your way out of your poorly thought out mess.
Russ developed Bible studies for the Navigators and for many other organizations. His influence for the Kingdom of God through his speaking, writing and consulting is known only to God. But what impressed me at the memorial service was how my friend had influenced his community. By living out his faith in everyday life Russ had a profound impact on Sulphur Springs, Texas. I know that because person after person from the theatre community that Russ loved testified about his influence. That is how this journey is supposed to be lived out.
Today I found out that a fellow freelance television friend, Brent Bottoms, died from unknown causes at the way too young age of forty. I did not Brent well but I know he was a hard worker with a warm smile and a big heart.
Every person on this list was a follower of Jesus. That makes it easier to navigate the sadness. But the walk today with dog friend Hannah was somber and song by Nichole Nordeman seemed to be providentially selected. Out of nearly 1800 tunes the song that popped up is called Legacy. Coincidence?
I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world
Jesus said these words in the Gospel of Matthew.
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (Matthew 16, NLT)
Indeed. We all leave a legacy. It can be good, bad or indifferent. The lyrics sung by Nordemann summarize the legacy that I desire to leave.
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy
That is the legacy I want to leave. I used to dream of fame and fortune. I have been blessed by God to achieve a little of both but those things have dimmed in my dreams. I now dream of being a messenger of the grace and love of Jesus.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2, NLT)
Seek the good things that Christ Jesus planned for you. If you seek those things you have a pretty good chance of leaving a legacy that will count for eternity.