Decade of Destiny: Leaving a legacy.
Imagine attending your own funeral and listening to all the remarks. What would you like people to say about your life? Even more important: What do you want God to say about you? Perhaps you have been building your life until now on the wrong basis. A meaningful life isn’t about accomplishments; it’s about creating a spiritual legacy through serving and giving. Jesus used His life to create the greatest legacy the world has ever experienced. We can use our lives to have this same kind of lasting spiritual legacy by turning our focus away from ourselves and toward God, toward service, and toward others.
Bottom Line: Live with the end in mind.
Something To Talk About:
In this sermon outline and discussion questions, we’ll consider the three ways we can create a lasting spiritual legacy through thinking about ourselves less, and thinking about God and others more. First:
- Seek first what matters most: God gives talents, abilities, skills, and spiritual gifts to people. When we use these gifts for the building up of God’s Kingdom, then we will experience true fulfillment and rich rewards. Life is busy. The daily demands and urgent matters cause stress and anxiety. It also can cause us to put important matters on “the back burner.” The way to thrive is by prioritizing what matters most, starting with “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33) When we prioritize God, He promises to meet our needs. Most people live in the “tyranny of the urgent.” Their daily lives are spent going from crisis to crisis. Because of this lifestyle, the things that matter most get delayed or ignored. Jesus promised to meet all of our needs if we will readjust our priorities and seek Him first which is what matters most. We need to use our time and talents on what matters most. Second, we must:
- Guard against materialism: People have been pursuing happiness since the dawn of man. Often our pursuits of happiness are temporary and doomed to fail. Whether it is consumer electronics, a brand new car, alcohol, or drugs, nothing leads to lasting happiness. We always need stronger and stronger doses, or to switch to an alternative means of finding happiness. In the end, our desire to be happy – and chase money to afford it – enslaves us. A person who obsesses about owning possessions will become too consumed with pursuing it that they will neglect more important matters in life. It is counter-productive. No material possessions will be there for eternity. Everything material will be destroyed. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19-21) And third:
- Become generous: “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home …. If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? …. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” (Luke 16:9-14). Why does God test your generosity? Because you were made in his image, so if you’re going to become like Jesus, you need to learn how to be generous. If you don’t, you’ll never grow to maturity, and you will never have the blessing of God on your life. What if things aren’t going well because of the Coronavirus; you’re out of work or you’re out of money, and you feel like you have no more time or energy to give. How can you be generous when you’re stretched thin? A good example for us is in 2 Corinthians 8. Paul says this about the churches in Macedonia: “Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others” (2 Corinthians 8:2 TLB). Living generous lives shows that we “get it” when it comes to the gospel.
- As you reflect on Sunday’s message, what one principle or insight stands out as being particularly helpful, insightful, or difficult to grasp?
- Do you think about your legacy? If so what is something you accomplished in the past that you’re proud of? What would you like to accomplish in this decade? How would you spend your time if money was no object?
- According to Ephesians 2:10, how did we come to be who we are, and for what purposes were we created? What motivates us to resist giving ourselves completely?
- What are you seeking these days? How do we seek first what matters most?
- What does it mean to seek God first?
- People tend to always want more. How does that affect their attitudes toward life? How do we guard against materialism?
- Read Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 and 1 John 2:16-17. Why should we not love money and the things of the world? How is this love for money avoided? How do we make sure our possession doesn’t possess us?
- Is generosity a tough subject for you? If so, why? Do you believe generosity contributes to true meaning and satisfaction in our own lives?
- Identify one practical way you can be more generous in the weeks ahead. How and where can we serve and be a blessing simply through the way God created us, through our life experiences, interests, and personality?
- In what ways are you passing along your faith? How can we as singles, parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders, etc., be sure that we’re pouring into others and passing on our faith to the next generation?
- What’s the next step God wants you to take? When will you take it? Who will hold you to it? Write down your next step to becoming the person God wants you to be. Put it somewhere you look every day.
Take one thing home with you:
A legacy is inevitable. You will pass things down to the next generation. Even if you don’t have much materially to leave behind, you will instill character traits, talents, hobbies, skills, and more in your children and grandchildren. But how valuable will your legacy be? Will you leave anything that has relevance and benefit for this life and eternity?
The most valuable legacy we can pass to our children, grandchildren, and other children in our lives is a spiritual legacy – the legacy of faith in Christ. Although every individual must make his or her own decision for Christ, there are things we can do to create an atmosphere where faith can thrive.