October 29, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Leaving a legacy

As a young child, I remember being in the church parking lot, setting in the car with my mother and siblings.

We were waiting on my daddy to finish a conversation with someone so we could leave and go home.

While we were waiting, a female member of the church walked by the car.

After she passed out of hearing range, my mother, the saintliest woman I ever knew, looked at us kids and said, “Children, y’all see that lady there?

Always be mindful of what you say in front of her; she’s a walking newspaper! She goes all around the community telling everything she knows!”

Now, should my momma have told this to us children? That’s debatable. But my point is that my momma wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t so. Sadly, by her actions, this woman left a legacy of being a walking newspaper – the community gossip! Even to this day!

I’ve often heard it said that a personal testimony, reputation, or legacy, may take a lifetime to build or establish, but only a second to ruin.

The point of this column is this: We all have an appointment with death.

The moment we were conceived, the Great Timekeeper of the Ages programmed the alarm clock of our lives for a day, hour, minute, and second.  When it sounds, and it will sound, we will leave this life behind.

And when we answer the call and make our departure, rest assured, we will leave a legacy. Now, whether that legacy is good or bad – is totally up to us!

I’m reminded of a story from years ago about a man who was the storekeeper and post master for a general store post office combination located in a very rural community. This country store was located within a block or so of the Baptist church. Whenever somebody died and had their funeral service at the church, the hearse had to pass right in front of the store when it left the church.

A ritual developed between the storekeeper and the old men that hung around the store sitting on the benches out front. Whenever the hearse rolled by, the storekeeper would say, “Guys, there goes ole so & so. You know what?  He or she was the best _____ I ever knew.” He would always compliment the dearly departed!

One day, the community drunk died. He never held a job for any length of time, he didn’t provide for his children, and he was abusive to his wife. He was the lowest of the low.

Sure enough, they had his funeral at the Baptist church. Knowing the character of the ole drunk, and that the hearse would come by the store, unbeknownst to the storekeeper, those old men began to wager as to whether or not he would be able to find a way to compliment the ole drunk.

As the hearse made its way by, the storekeeper said, “Guys, there goes ole Charlie. You know, he wasn’t much account for anything. He wouldn’t work, he neglected his kids, he beat his wife, and he stayed drunk all the time!” Then, after a dramatic pause, he continued, “But you know what? That ole boy could whistle better than anybody I ever heard in my life!”

I don’t know about you, but I want to leave a legacy that’s just a little better than being a walking newspaper or being able to whistle well!

Yes, the day may come when you read an obituary informing you that I died. However, I really didn’t. I just moved out of my temporary residence to my eternal home!  But when that day comes, you may shake your head and mutter, “That ole boy wasn’t wrapped too tight mentally!”

And that’ll be the truth and it’ll be alright to say – just as long as it’s followed by, “But I believe he loved the Lord and gave himself continually to the cause of Christ!”

Acts 6:4(KJV) “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Did you catch it? “But we will give ourselves continually…” I hope and pray that will be my legacy – he gave himself continually to the cause of Christ!

The legacy we leave is up to us!

Brother Aaron

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