Thursday, March 10, 2016

What’s my legacy going to be?

I just finished taking a graduate course in evangelism.  As a part of the course, I was challenged to write a "Vision Paper".  What are my plans for carrying out the Great Commission?  How am I going to be obedient to God’s command to reach others with the gospel?  How am I going to live my life?  As I thought about this, I thought about the idea of "what is my legacy going to be?"  And that led me to thinking about Abraham.
There was only one person in Scripture that God referred to as his “friend.”  And that was Abraham.  (James 2:23)  Abraham was from the Ur of the Chaldeans.  He loved God completely.  He obeyed Him with questioning Him.  I sometimes have hard time relating to Abraham because his life of complete faith in God is so amazing.
However, if we take a closer look into the life of Abraham, we find that he was not perfect. But, he persevered with God and he became a godly man.  Genesis 15:6 says that he “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
When Abraham was 75 years old, God told him to leave his family, his homeland, his livelihood, and move to a new land.  This required a lot of faith, but Abraham didn’t waiver.  (Would I be able to do the same?)

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.”  (You can read the whole story in Genesis 12)

So what did he do?  He left his family and went on his journey. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8).  He trusted God and he went.
He made some mistakes along the way. The end of Genesis 12 tells us about how Abram got into trouble because he lied and said Sarai was his sister instead of his wife.  This is an example of Abram’s fearing man instead of trusting God.
Then there was time Abraham and his nephew, Lot, split up.  Abraham told Lot to choose which piece of land he wanted and in doing that Abraham gave up his rights to the land God had promised him. Peace was more important to Abram than being right.  (Ouch – can God say that about me?) 
Next we find Abram wanting to help God fulfill His promise.  God said he would be the father of many nations, but Sarai was barren and they were old.  In their impatience to wait on God, they made a horrible mistake.  Abram slept with Hagar, Sarai’s handmaid, and she bore him a son, Ishmael.  This act of disobedience still plagues the world today.
Sometimes I make mistakes similar to Abram.  And, like Abram, I have to reap what I sow.  This doesn’t mean God is finished with me.  It only means that sin has consequences, and even though God forgives the sin, I have to live with the consequences of my actions.
God, in His own time, fulfilled His promise to Abram and Sarai.  Abram was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Sarai was 90 years old.  When it seemed impossible, God stepped in and did the supernatural.  It’s the way He often works.  God gets all the glory because there’s no doubt it was God at work. 
Then, after that long wait to get Isaac, God tells Abram to offer him up as a sacrifice.  Try to imagine that.  You’ve waited for what seems like forever for God to fulfill a promise to you and now He’s asking you to give it up. Abram obeyed God.  Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us that Abram believed God could raise him from the dead.
Just as Abram was about to plunge the knife into his son, God stopped him.  God said, “Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12).  It is interesting to note that God says, “Now I know”.  I was not until Abram was willing to give up his only son, that God knew that he would be completely obedient to the end. 
What about me?  What’s God asked me to give up?  Have I been obedient?  Did God call me to something?  Did I obey? Did I walk away from my calling, or stand firm for Jesus?
Abraham’s legacy – he believed God!  What’s my legacy going to be?  What’s my story going to look like when my life is over?  Did Abraham make mistakes?  Yes.  What is he known and remembered for?  His faith.

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