Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Forging a Legacy - Martin Wiles

Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly. Proverbs 13:22 NLT

As I perused each entry, I wondered what I’d read.

I was ending my four-year stint as a Middle School Language Arts teacher. The headmaster had selected the final chapel service as the time for me to officially inform the students I was leaving and why. As a gift, the marketing department had presented me with a yearbook for the children to sign. 

In each class, I passed my yearbook around the room. At the end of the day, I began reading the entries. Without exception, each one told me I was their favorite teacher. That was encouraging. 

Then I came to the entry of one quiet young man who seemed more mature than his classmates and who didn’t participate in their frequent horseplay. His entry stated, “You have pushed my limits both academically and morally, but I know your hard work will make me a better person.” Tears formed in my eyes. My goal had been reached. 

In addition to my own, God gave me a four-year opportunity to leave a legacy to many other people’s children and grandchildren. I didn’t take it lightly. I knew teaching at a Christian school was more of a ministry than it was a profession.

Forging a legacy occurs whether I intend for it to or not. 

If I don’t purposefully forge a good legacy, I will leave a poor one. I planned to forge a good one at the school, but I often wondered whether my having to discipline the children for poor choices and bad behavior would interfere with them being able to see my example. Evidently, they had been able to separate the two, just as I as a believer realize God’s discipline doesn’t define Him as mean.

Forging a legacy requires intentional endeavors. 

If I want my legacy to point others to Christ and the abundant, fulfilling life He offers, I must have a plan and goals. People are always watching—which can make living a Christ-like example tricky. Only by the power and direction of God’s Spirit can I forge a lasting spiritual legacy for those whom I influence.

Make up your mind that you will forge a legacy that will impact others for generations to come. 

Prayer: Father, enable us to leave behind a spiritual legacy that will live on for many years.

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