Have you recovered from your post-Thanksgiving coma, yet?
It’s really easy to get caught up in all the preparations, the entertaining and the eating.
Oh, the eating!
Scarfing down food until your pants hate you and your blood sugar is on overload from sampling all of the different flavors of pie!
To top it off, I spent the whole day in misery after chopping the most offensive onion I have ever come across! An hour and a half later, my eyes were swollen and watering. Even my husband’s eyes were burning and I was wondering if I was going to bring all my guests to tears when they came in the house.
Needless to say, there were no pictures of me with my puffy, blood shot eyes! I really looked like I was having a Happy Thanksgiving!
Despite how crazy the day can be, Thanksgiving really is a great time for reflection, isn’t it?
Appreciating Your Legacy
No matter what challenges you’ve faced this past year, there are still so many things to be grateful for. I know in my own life, I have been thinking a lot about legacy – the legacy that I have been born into and how my calling will effect the generations that follow me.
In fact, I don’t think we can really comprehend the Kingdom of God if we don’t understand legacy. To understand the Kingdom, you have to learn to think like an heir. You have to see your life as an extension of something greater than yourself; otherwise your vision becomes limited by the confines of your own life.
Most people don’t get this.
When you’re young, it’s easy to dismiss legacy. You appreciate where you’ve come from, but you don’t understand how much it impacts where you’re headed. In fact, you might find yourself running as far from it as you can in an attempt to carve out your own life.
For some people, when you mention legacy, the only thing they can see is the hell that they came out of. All they want to do is run as far as they can away from the legacy of dysfunction they are a part of. For others, building a legacy becomes clouded by the mistakes they’ve made in life.
But if we are going to accomplish what God has created us to do, we’ve got to see the long view.
Seeing The Long View
Last week I observed a wonderful example of someone who gets legacy. I was out of town visiting family over the weekend and ended up watching a Joel Osteen service on Sunday. Joel is somewhat of a polarizing figure, but one thing I can say for certain is that he has a tremendous understanding of legacy and what it means to be an heir.
As he unpacked his message, he shared several stories about the sacrifices of his parents and grandparents, from struggles to survive the depression, to building the ministry he inherited. He talked over and over about the ways that He has been blessed by others, not for what he had done, but because of the love and respect people had for his parents. It was clear that he understands where his success has come from, as well as the responsibility he feels to steward to the next level what his parents began so many years ago. Building a powerful ministry isn’t about him; it’s about guarding well what he has been entrusted with.
Joel sees the long view.
I want to think like that. I want to be able to step back and see the bigger picture that I am a part of. It hasn’t all been perfect, that’s for sure, but there is still so much to be grateful for.
You Come From Survivors
I’m thankful for great grandparents that took the risk to cross an ocean and live as immigrants in a foreign land. They lived through the Great Depression, the death of children and so much more, fighting to build a better life.
I’m grateful for a great grandmother that I hardly knew, who prayed her family into the Kingdom.
I’m grateful for parents that opened their hearts to Christ when I was nine years old. Jesus wasn’t someone we talked about only on Sunday. He became the front and center focus in our home. I learned about the Holy Spirit, healing and the prophetic because my parents pursued the deeper things of God.
I know who I would be if they had rejected God. This is a debt I will never be able to repay.
I can see what God has been building. I can see the successes, and I can see where we have come up a little short of the bigger picture God has in mind.
Now it’s my turn.
As I run my portion of this race I want to do it well. I want to have in mind the sacrifice of those that have gone before me. As the author of Hebrews says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter off faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2
I also want to be sure that I am teaching my daughter to think like an heir. When she grows up, I want her to think like Joel. I want her to be able to see clearly what she is a part of and I want her to take seriously the stewardship of what she is connected to. It may or may not be connected to what I’m currently building. That’s ok. I want her to understand Kingdom with a long view in mind. Whatever she chooses to do, I want her to see her life as essential to the big picture of what God wants accomplished. That’s the legacy I want her to have in mind.
Closing It Out:
If you found yourself caught up in all of the busyness that so often overtakes Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to take some time this week, to not only reflect on the blessings you have in front of you, but also to see the legacy that you are a part of.
Even if you didn’t come from a godly family, recognize the hand of God that pulled you through to where you are today and realize that you’re laying the ground floor of what is to come. See the long view of where He wants to take your family line and give thanks for what is to come.
Friends, we are a part of something much greater than ourselves. It’s greater than what we might hope for our children.
You’re paving the way for someone who doesn’t even know your name.
You’re laying a foundation that will impact generations to come.
As you make your plans for this next year, keep that in mind. Don’t build for your own success; build in such a way that your legacy grows with you.
How do you view your legacy?
Are there areas of your history that you need to see through God’s eyes?
If you have children, what do you do to instill an understanding of legacy within them?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!