A Living Legacy

At our prayer meeting last week, one young man prayed for his father. It had nothing really to do with the subject matter of our half night of prayer. His Dad is a Christian. He wasn’t praying for his conversion. But we let it go! The prayer may not have been immediately relevant. But it was brilliant. Quite unnecessarily he later sent me an e-mail apologising for hi-jacking the prayer meeting. He really didn’t need to. It was one of the highlights.

He’d prayed for his Father who was retiring the following day. Instead of the usual retirement shindig, his Father had sent round an e-mail inviting his work colleagues to a lunch at which he’d give a gospel talk. Three people had responded. Perhaps he was disappointed. But he was going to go ahead with it anyway. His son was justifiably proud of his old man. Who wouldn’t be?

I got quite emotional when I heard that prayer. It’s fair to say that I had a moment! No one spotted it. But there’s something really rather brilliant about that Father’s brave decision to do something bold for Christ. I’ve never met this man, though I’ve heard a little about him. I don’t know how he’s lived his life, though his son is hugely appreciative for his Father’s consistent witness and godly resolve. But I suspect that, like us all, he regrets not doing more for Christ and the gospel. But he realised, on his retirement day, that he had nothing to lose. The impending end of his working life focussed his mind and his heart. As it turned out, nine people turned up, he gave a talk, took some questions and handed out some books. It may have been one of the best things he’d done in his working life. It was probably the bravest.

I often think about what sort of example I give my children. I’d love to be a living legacy of godliness. I want the way that I live and the things that I do to show that there’s no substitute for serving Christ. I sometimes wonder what they’ll say about me when I’m gone. I desperately want to show them that there’s nothing as valuable or worthwhile as living wholeheartedly for Christ. It’s just I can’t seem to do it with the unerring consistency that I long for! Clearly there’s work to be done. But for those of us who are fathers, it’s a reminder that we can inspire our sons and daughters to be more sanctified versions of themselves through the model we give.

The young man in our congregation got to see his Father going out on a limb and doing something bold for the gospel. And it made him really rather proud.

3 thoughts on “A Living Legacy

  1. Beryl Polden May 15, 2011 / 2:12 pm

    Posing a question !

    Is it better to emulate the “gospel messenger” or the “worshipper in spirit and in truth”?

    Or are they always one and the same person?

    It is possible to “worship” the work that we do for God rather than worshipping Him !

    That said, children (including “spiritual” children) need to see examples of “real” witness and “real” worship from their parents – so I wouldn’t like this to be interpreted as discouragement !

    • theurbanpastor May 16, 2011 / 6:17 pm

      Beryl
      Thanks for the question.
      I’m not sure that I’d want to draw a sharp distinction between a gospel messenger and a worshipper. It seems to me that the Bible encourages us to be both. In our wholehearted discipleship we’re to be both worshippers and messengers. In other words we worship Christ and we speak about Christ. It’s worth remembering that Romans 12:1f encourages us to see worship as more than singing songs, if that’s what you’re getting at. Worship is a whole life thing that would incoporate evangelism.
      And so I’m not sure I’d want to encourage people to choose between being either a worshipper or a messenger. I’d want them to encourage them to be all that they could be for Christ and his cause and therefore I’d want them to be both worshipping and missional. I think ithis is a why of saying that I don’t like the options you’ve given me, Beryl!
      Sure it’s possible to worship work and not Christ. Where anything or anyone takes the place of primacy in our affections we’re guilty of idolatry. Julian Hardyman’s book ‘Idols’ is simply brilliant on this. But that’s not what this guy’s father was doing.
      This guy was chuffed to bits that God had given him a father who set the bar high with respect to living the Christian life. He’d given him a consistent example of godliness since these things are often caught as well as taught. And, as you point out, we all benefit from those who live liek Christ in our midst.

  2. Phil May 24, 2011 / 11:32 am

    I found this story inspiring!

    It reminds me of Driscoll’s point a few weeks ago that we are not called (only) to enjoy good times, but to leave a good legacy.

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