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Article Archive >> Community

Points to Ponder:Legacy is not about you

Points to Ponder
Legacy is not about you

Your legacy is not yours to finish. In fact, you may destroy it or completely alter its potential fruitfulness if you try.
When Moses had led the Israelites through forty years of wandering the wilderness, it came time to take the people into the Promised Land. It had been his objective, the vision for his life, to see God's promise to Abraham finally fulfilled for his descendants. But God told Moses that he would not be entering that land.
"Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it" (Deuteronomy 1:38).
There's more to the story as to why Moses was not permitted to go into the land himself; but the point to consider here is that the objective for God's people had not changed. It was Moses' legacy that he had courageously and faithfully led the people out of Egyptian slavery and taught them how to follow the Lord, to seek his face, and to worship Him. Moses interceded for them in prayer, persevered during times when they were rebellious toward God and hateful toward him. He even offered to die in their place to atone for the great sin of idolatry involving the golden calf (Exodus 32:31-32).
But his legacy, for all that he sacrificed and accomplished for Israel, was not to include the ultimate goal for which he had worked. Isn't that hard?
Some people want to write the last chapter of their legacy. Others are so determined to control the last innings of the game that they don't know when to step aside. There comes a time when the mission of your life changes even though the vision and the objectives remain the same.
If it is from God, the vision has eternal aspects to it. It is not limited to one's own lifetime. Therefore as the years progress, the man or woman of God has to be mindful of when it's time to shift gears. For Moses, he had to keep his perspective on the eternal nature of his assignment. He longed to see it through on "his watch," to enjoy the fruit of his labors; however, it was not to be. And he had to do two things: accept that, and then prepare for his replacement.
Joshua was not Moses. He did not have to be. It was a new generation, a next chapter in the journey. God doesn't clone his most faithful servants so that exact copies of the exact same strengths (with the exact same weaknesses) will carry forward His work. No doubt Joshua learned from Moses. But he did not have to be Moses. He had to be Joshua, the man whom God had "wired" and prepared for that particular calling at that particular time.
In Deuteronomy, Moses reviewed the nation's history with the people. He publicly acknowledged and lifted up Joshua as the next leader. Then he stepped aside and allowed God and Joshua to go forward. It was after all God's plan, not Moses'. It's easy to forget that when we are in the thick of our ministry or calling. But there comes a time when it will be your duty to hand off.
But here's the key point. That time may be twenty years from now. Preparing for it should be on one's mind from the outset. Who has the Lord brought into your sphere of influence who may be the one best suited to carry things forward? Joshua started out as Moses' assistant some forty years earlier.
"So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle" (Exodus 33:11).
Moses' mentored him in what it meant to walk with God. That's really where his legacy began, his consistent day-to-day modeling of how to be a godly man and a godly leader.
When it was clear to Moses that God was not allowing him to finish the task of leading Israel into the land, Moses humbly prayed:
"Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd" (Numbers 27:16-17).
And the Lord answered in v. 18:
"Take Joshua,...a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him."
A vital aspect of one's legacy is in the hand off. Prepare your successor by being a good model now. Then let go when it's time. If the vision is God's, then it's not all about you.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 10:45pm, both days.

Legacy is not about you

Your legacy is not yours to finish. In fact, you may destroy it or completely alter its potential fruitfulness if you try.
When Moses had led the Israelites through forty years of wandering the wilderness, it came time to take the people into the Promised Land. It had been his objective, the vision for his life, to see God's promise to Abraham finally fulfilled for his descendants. But God told Moses that he would not be entering that land.
"Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it" (Deuteronomy 1:38).
There's more to the story as to why Moses was not permitted to go into the land himself; but the point to consider here is that the objective for God's people had not changed. It was Moses' legacy that he had courageously and faithfully led the people out of Egyptian slavery and taught them how to follow the Lord, to seek his face, and to worship Him. Moses interceded for them in prayer, persevered during times when they were rebellious toward God and hateful toward him. He even offered to die in their place to atone for the great sin of idolatry involving the golden calf (Exodus 32:31-32).
But his legacy, for all that he sacrificed and accomplished for Israel, was not to include the ultimate goal for which he had worked. Isn't that hard?
Some people want to write the last chapter of their legacy. Others are so determined to control the last innings of the game that they don't know when to step aside. There comes a time when the mission of your life changes even though the vision and the objectives remain the same.
If it is from God, the vision has eternal aspects to it. It is not limited to one's own lifetime. Therefore as the years progress, the man or woman of God has to be mindful of when it's time to shift gears. For Moses, he had to keep his perspective on the eternal nature of his assignment. He longed to see it through on "his watch," to enjoy the fruit of his labors; however, it was not to be. And he had to do two things: accept that, and then prepare for his replacement.
Joshua was not Moses. He did not have to be. It was a new generation, a next chapter in the journey. God doesn't clone his most faithful servants so that exact copies of the exact same strengths (with the exact same weaknesses) will carry forward His work. No doubt Joshua learned from Moses. But he did not have to be Moses. He had to be Joshua, the man whom God had "wired" and prepared for that particular calling at that particular time.
In Deuteronomy, Moses reviewed the nation's history with the people. He publicly acknowledged and lifted up Joshua as the next leader. Then he stepped aside and allowed God and Joshua to go forward. It was after all God's plan, not Moses'. It's easy to forget that when we are in the thick of our ministry or calling. But there comes a time when it will be your duty to hand off.
But here's the key point. That time may be twenty years from now. Preparing for it should be on one's mind from the outset. Who has the Lord brought into your sphere of influence who may be the one best suited to carry things forward? Joshua started out as Moses' assistant some forty years earlier.
"So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle" (Exodus 33:11).
Moses' mentored him in what it meant to walk with God. That's really where his legacy began, his consistent day-to-day modeling of how to be a godly man and a godly leader.
When it was clear to Moses that God was not allowing him to finish the task of leading Israel into the land, Moses humbly prayed:
"Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd" (Numbers 27:16-17).
And the Lord answered in v. 18:
"Take Joshua,...a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him."
A vital aspect of one's legacy is in the hand off. Prepare your successor by being a good model now. Then let go when it's time. If the vision is God's, then it's not all about you.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 10:45pm, both days.

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