Thursday, April 12, 2012
What will be Your Legacy?
1Chr. 2:7 The sons of Carmi: Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the matter of the devoted thing;
2Cor. 12:19 ¶ Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? We are speaking in Christ before God. Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up.
2Cor. 12:20 For I fear that when I come, I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish; I fear that there may perhaps be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.
2Cor. 12:21 I fear that when I come again, my God may humble me before you, and that I may have to mourn over many who previously sinned and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness that they have practiced.
As I read this scripture today I had to take a little time to figure out who Achar was. Who was this man who was simply remembered as the one who "transgressed in the matter of the devoted thing." Other translations call him the "troubler" of Israel. How would you like to be remembered as the "troubler?" Who was he? Here he is called Achar, but earlier he is referred to as Achan. He is the man who disobeyed God by taking plunder in battle and keeping it for himself. His selfish act brought disaster upon all of the Israelites. So, he is forever remembered as a transgressor or troubler. What a legacy.
Paul is writing this second letter to the church at Corinth and its also about a legacy. There are those in the church who are gossiping about him and are causing him and others all kinds of trouble. There are things going on in that church that should never be happening in God's community. There is impurity, people are involved in sexual practices and relationships that God would see as disobedient. Paul has tried to speak to these issues and yet the truth becomes twisted and they make Paul out to be the bad guy. But in the end -- which legacy would you like to have? In the end Paul is the one who is remembered as being faithful, and the people of Corinth as being the troublers. For all of history we see the church in Corinth as a very troubled church.
There are long-term consequences as a result of our obedience or disobedience to God. At the very moment when we are in the middle of the scene we may not be aware of the long-term effects of the situation. Achan was excited about the loot that he might have for himself and his family. I imagine he looked with excitement at the "stuff" that he was taking and thinking what a great and rich man he was now! By the time he got home he realized that he'd have to bury it under his tent! Little by little it began to sink in that he had done something really stupid and it would have eternal consequences.
Paul remained faithful in his Christian walk. No matter what people said about him or did to him, he remained faithful. The legacy that he leaves with us is that he was the greatest missionary of all time. He was the man that God used to spread the Gospel around the world of his day. He went from being a radical who attacked Christians to a man completely consumed with knowing Christ. His letters laid the foundation for the New Testament and his legacy is that his teachings and his life inform us to this day. His critics in Corinth are only remembered as some troubled individuals.
Just this week the football coach in Arkansas was caught doing something incredibly stupid. This married man and father was having an affair with a 25 year old woman. He was having her work as his secretary and was illegally getting money to her. It wasn't until he got into a motorcycle accident with her on the back of his motorcycle that he was caught. Then, he was terribly sorry. Maybe not really sorry for what he had done, but sorry that he was caught. The man is losing his job and millions of dollars over something really stupid. He is ruining his life because of his selfish personal desires. He is ruining the life of his family as well. He won't be remembered as the great coach of what may have become a national championship team, but rather he will be remembered as the man who had an affair and ruined his coaching career.
What legacy will we leave? When we live our lives each and every single day, do we live with the eternal in mind? Do we look at the big picture? Ultimately each and every single one of us will have a legacy which we leave here on this earth. This legacy will be dependent upon our faithfulness to God. Today we have a choice about how we will serve him -- or ourselves. The choice is up to us and there may be backlash from time to time, but faithfulness to God is always the best choice and eventually -- as in the case with Paul -- the truth will win out. At the moment we may find ourselves in situations where people just don't "get" why we do what we do, but if we remain in the center of God's will and are obedient to him, the legacy will be what he desires for us. Hang in there. Be faithful. Don't allow the enemy to turn us to the side.
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Please, help me to remain faithful to you day in and day out. Amen.