Tuesday 9th June
Legacy is a really interesting concept. Many leaders in my experience worry far too much about their legacy! I say that not as a criticism but because when legacy becomes more important than mission or purpose an organisation can end up losing it’s way. It is only human to want to be remembered well, we all have a need to be needed but in hierarchical organisations like the Church of England it seems to me that concern over where you have been and what impact you have had can hamper your ability to hear what God is asking you to do in the moment.
It could be argued that King Saul in the Old Testament lost his way and stopped trusting in God because he became more concerned about being successful. Success is important after all none of us want to live with constant failure but when we chase success for success’ sake then again we can miss what God is saying to us. At the heart of all of this is human pride whether we chase after success or are concerned with our legacy, ultimately we have shifted the attention from God and on to ourselves. The accounts of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness at the start of his ministry ultimately show how he was being offered power, success and adulation by the tempter.
“The second temptation was for Jesus to throw himself from the highest point of the temple and order angels to catch him. Jesus replied “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Finally, the Devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in return for worshipping him. Jesus replied “Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!”
The starting point for us as Christians therefore needs to be service, we are primarily called to serve God, our communities and one another. If success comes or we are remembered well that is a gift and not something we should chase after or look for.
Jesus himself was quick to condemn the religious authorities for chasing after human adulation and the consequences of doing so.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
As you pray today ask God to equip you to serve wherever you find yourself that you may grow into the person God created you to be. Pray too for our leaders that they might pursue God’s vision and values and not worry about their popularity, success and legacy.
Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true, because we
dreamed too little, when we arrived safely
because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
having fallen in love with life,
we have ceased to dream of eternity.
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.