PRINCIPLE: “It is more important to leave a legacy than to be a legend.”
Babe Ruth. Dean Martin. Milton Berle. Samson. Judas.
All legends – remembered for what they did, recognized for their unique deeds and contributions. But remembrance implies the past, not the present. Legends leave a mark on their time but not a legacy for future generations. The goal of the Christian life is to build legacies, not legends. It is our task to invest ourselves in others so Christianity carries on from generation to generation. Be sure to model for and train others.
To put it another way, plant yourself in the garden of others. Psalm 1 talks about digging our roots deeply into the soil of God so we can grow strong. While it’s primary reference is to our own spiritual growth, the image applies to this legacy principle as well. But we cannot invest ourselves into everyone – in fact we can invest ourselves in only a few. Howard Hendricks has aptly written, “Beautiful blooms always grow out of fertile soil.” Be sensitive to your co-workers, family, and leaders; look for gifts, potential, and willingness to learn; be discerning of fertile soil. Then plant yourself in that soil. Call it mentoring, teaching, investing, modeling, or equipping – the term doesn’t matter; but the results do. Planting produces blooms and blooms live on. Don’t worry about being a legend – let your Christianity live through the legacy you leave.