3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
We speak of a person’s legacy, and as we get older we are concerned as to what our own will be. John really hits the nail on the head, because buildings and programs and even institutions change and fade, and of course wealth is ephemeral, but God’s truth is eternal, and there is no greater legacy. It is a truism that “you can’t take it with you,” but we can lead others to join us in heaven. John was speaking of spiritual children here, including Gaius to whom he is writing. Physical children are a blessing, but if they don’t also become our spiritual children, all we’ve done is increased the population. Yesterday I was reading that El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord currently in jail in the US, has sired some 23 children by various women, and Genghis Khan is said to be the person with the most “reproductive success” in history, but such statistics are not a legacy of joy and peace. It is when we invest in people, pouring into them the truth that God has given to us, that we develop a real legacy. The older we get – and John is said to have lived well past 90 – the more we realize that it is relationships that matter, and not all the material things the devil tempts us with. Of course, our foundational relationship is with our Creator. If we don’t have that right through Jesus Christ His Son, nothing else matters. Again, the longer we live, the better we realize that is an ongoing, growing thing. My father used to say, “Give all you know of yourself to all you know of Christ.” The thing is, we learn more about ourselves every day, and we should keep learning more of Christ, so this is a lifelong activity. When we have that foundation, then it is the relationships with those around us that matter. In my counseling I am constantly telling people that being self-centered is the greatest hindrance to genuine happiness, because it cuts us off from deep, fulfilling relationships. The mess the world is in can rightly be attributed entirely to failed relationships.
This is very much on my heart right now because one of my spiritual children just left to take a job in another part of Japan. It was a considerable relief to hear from him last night that he had arrived safely, and that he already misses Omura. He will have many growing experiences there, and some of them will be painful, and I am to keep pointing him to the Lord and encouraging him to praise God and keep moving forward. There are many things he needs to learn, but that is true of us all. I am to value each of the relationships God has given me with people, pouring into them the truth and grace He has poured out on me. I don’t do that perfectly, certainly, so I’ve got to keep growing in the process. If I will do that, my legacy will be secure and I will receive the ultimate accolade: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Father, thank You for this reminder. The young man who left isn’t the only one learning and growing by the experience! I ask Your anointing as I teach this morning, that my impact on my students may draw them all to You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!