Two events this week have caused me to do a great deal of thinking about my own legacy… not that I don’t already reevaluate often.
Steve Jobs, as I’m sure everyone knows by now, the man behind the personal Computer, the Mac, the Ipad, Ipod, Iphone, and probably Istuff we have yet to see passed away this week. His spiritual heritage aside, he was a brilliant man and marketing genius, and a visionary, and he appreciated life… and after seeing some of his many quotes posted all of the world wide web, he obviously appreciated death.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs, 2005
He left behind a lot of people that loved him, but I wonder how big of a legacy he truly left behind if you think about it… people could argue about the great inventions and tech that he pushed into the public’s hands and it would be hard to disagree. But if the world goes on another 200 years will he be remembered like he is today. I would have to say not. If you disagree I would ask you, what about the guy who invented the wheel? Who doesn’t know about the wheel, yet no one is remembered as that guy who brought the most important invention ever to civilization to life. How about the toothbrush, the toilet, the 100 little techniques to make the clothes and shoes you are wearing right now… how about the Master Cylinder? Several of us may not even know what a Master Cylinder is, yet it saves your life every day. While we can use the magic of Google to find the majority of the latter I’m certain, these people brought so much to our lives and yet are forgotten.
I was pondering this on the way to work yesterday… so of all the gadgets Steve inspired, what was eternal in his life… The same day an estimated 146,000 people died… In the time it took you to read this sentence, about 100 people were meeting their creator. So what do we leave behind that can go beyond this world? What can we do that will last beyond ourselves, beyond this life that is just a vapor?
Yesterday Jess and I went and watched the movie Courageous… I can’t say it enough. Go see the movie!!!! If you have seen it, go take someone who needs to go see it, and watch it again!!! I was forced to look inside of my own heart and the father I have been. I don’t think I’m a bad father… in fact I think I have been a decent dad… but I don’t want to be a decent dad, a decent husband… I want to be everything the God desires me to be. And that requires a lot on my part. It requires diligence, perseverance, and staying as close to God as I possibly can. I was praying this morning and told God, how I am so continually tired of myself and doing things my way, and how every time I think I am about to reach the end of me, I find a whole lot more of me left. I am so ready to be at the place where I run out, and all that is left is God. Because in myself I can only hold back God in not only my life, but the life of my family, my kids, my wife, my church, and plans that God may have for those around me…
What does this have to do with Steve Jobs you may ask? It goes back to my question. What can we do that will last beyond ourselves, beyond this life that is just a vapor?
Two things… First of all, you build a legacy in your family. Your children will repeat the patterns and behaviors that you instill in them. Don’t like who you are? You will definitely not like who your children become. Hard words as I look inside my own heart. Think you can live life one way and expect to correct it with just words in your children. Think again. You can’t, and you won’t. It requires a lot. It requires you to live the life you want them to live, you to teach, you to instruct, you to protect, you to encourage, you to make tough choices, and you to keep going, keep trying, keep loving when you hit the same brick walls with them over and over again. It requires you to have the answer to life for them….
Every human being asks what their purpose in life is… what the meaning of life is… Why they are here… and if you don’t have the right answer, the world around them will be all too happy to give them one. Fathers… your sons will emulate the very things they hate about you as they get older… the very things that you have done that hurt them… or they will emulate the things in you they revered and respected. Fathers, your daughters will seek you in every man she is ever with, both the very things she saw in you that she learned what a man is by your example, and sadly anything that was also lacking in your relationship with her… This can be a beautiful thing or a path to certain destruction.
What you build in your family will live as long as this world, and on into eternity… You are building generations that you will never see. You are affecting the outcome of your children their children, and their children for good, or for bad. As fathers, mothers, guardians, mentors, whatever… we are to stand up to the world for this generation, to break off curses, hurts, to protect them, encourage them, and show them the love and example of the Father above. This is what we can be remembered for here… maybe not your name, your face, or anything else you did directly… but if you stand up and be the man, woman you are called to be you can effect generations for hundreds of years.
And secondly… even if you build greatness… everything around you is temporary… Even the most ancient antiquities… things that have stood thousands of years shall soon pass away… but there is an eternity waiting. And it was that very thought I was pondering the morning after Jobs had given up the ghost.
Matthew 6:20 says “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” There is only one place where the choices you make here, the choice you make in this life will last forever. As awesome as you think the Ipad may be, or the wheel, or my favorite, the toilet… It’s my only safe haven with 5 kids… the one thing all these inventors had in common was that at the moment they stepped out of this life, they stepped before a righteous judge and King… and at that moment nothing they accomplished any more mattered. All that mattered was the choice they made at the time they were given opportunity to do so.
You see while most people think that being more good than bad is what counts, it’s not. Some people think that all that mattered was that you believed in God, or went to church… it’s wasn’t. Even Satan believes, and he’s probably been to more churches than all of us combined. And sadly some people think that they are already too far gone… you’re not.
The great thing about my God, is that although he required holiness and perfection to have eternal life, he also knew that I would never achieve that, and so he paid the way for me… and he paid the way for you. The only thing that you can truly do that will last forever… is make the choice to trust him with your heart and your life. To give him control, give him yourself, tell him that you believe in him, and the sacrifice he made for you, and invite him into your life to lead you and guide you. To heal you. To restore you. To uplift you. To strengthen you. To give you peace. To make a way when you see no way in front of you. To give you hope. And to teach you how to bring that same hope to you family.
It’s not just saying a prayer… it’s a brand new life… and it is eternal… and it is the only thing I know of that is. You were made for eternity. You were made to have a relationship with your father… your Holy Father… and just like you fathers long for a good relationship with your children, he longs for one with you, only so much more so.
I encourage you to think about your eternity… your legacy… and not only what you’re leaving behind when you leave this world, because one day you will… but also think about what you’re stepping into when you do… It matters… It matters so much. And it is the most important question you will ever ask yourself…
And if you want to answer that question, message me or shoot me an email. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, Lord knows I still have struggles and junk in my life… but I can point you to the one who does. And if not me, find someone to talk to or let me put you in contact with someone.