Today is Billy Grahams birthday. He is 95. 95 years of life on this earth. 95 years to leave his mark. His legacy. This got me to thinking. What kind of legacy do I want to leave? It also had me thinking that I am so relieved that I did not leave this earth before the age of 25. Lord knows there were many times I should have. Yet only by His grace am I still alive today.
When I was younger I remember my great- grandfathers both held certain men in high esteem. On my sweet Catholic great- grandfathers wall hung a gold plated framed picture of the pope. Next to it was a picture of Jesus. They hung on the right side of his rocker at the same level. I have to imagine that he believed that the pope was Jesus in the flesh and he wanted to always remember him in his prayers. While my Christian Reformed grandfather holds Billy Graham in the same esteem. To this day he will tell me stories of revivals that he has seen or heard and the eternal impact that Billy Graham has had on him and the way he has lived his life.
In 2007 I had an amazing opportunity to serve alongside Samaritans Purse in Liberia. Serving those afflicted with HIV/ AIDS it was my first time falling in love with Africa and realizing the joy we lacked here in the US. Although it is Billy Graham’s son Franklin’s organization I felt like I was getting to experience a part of the Graham legacy that my grandfather had experienced.
So today being the patriarch Billy’s birthday I have to imagine that as he looks over the birthday cake with his family singing him praises that he is filled with gratitude. Knowing that he has left a legacy that has changed the not only their lives but the lives of those all over the world.
So what kind of legacy will you leave?
Will you be more concerned with what grades your child has? With what clubs they are in? How popular they are? Will you look back and say wow I am glad that every weekend was overbooked with activities that I never got to really know my children? Will you look at your bank statement and be pleased that you never gave extravagantly to someone who really needed it? Will you be calm before your maker knowing you believed 10% was not for you? Will you be filled with joy that you spent more hours at the gym than on your knees before the King? Will you be satisfied that you went to brunch with your friends or slept in on Sunday morning instead of worshiping the one who made you? Will you be at peace knowing that you never took the moments to share the love of Jesus with the little ones living under your roof? Will you be rested knowing that you continued to live like you were in a frat house every weekend instead of growing up and being the man of the house? Will you be content knowing that you never knew that your neighbor was in so much pain but your pride to walk across the street kept you inside? Will you be delighted knowing that your kids went to elite colleges but never learned what empathy was?
If I were to have passed before the age of 25 I cannot imagine the legacy I would have left. Be selfish. Drink whenever you want. You don’t have to be married. You can believe whatever you want to believe. You have no one to worry about but yourself. Spend money on things that make you look better than everyone else.
I want to leave a different legacy. I want to do better.
I want my legacy to say mercy. Love big. Love with reckless abandon. Give away. Give away everything. Things mean nothing. Create memories. Slow down. Say no. Serve. All the time serve. Serve someone who can never serve you back. Take pictures. Write stories. Tell your story. You are never too lost. Don’t be afraid. Travel the world. Make sure your feet and heart stay red. Sit at the feet of Jesus and let His love permeate over you. Tell others about redemption. Give grace. Receive grace. Fight for your community. Fight for each other. But don’t fight with each other. Reach out and feel the hand of Jesus. And most of all….know that you matter.
Take a moment and think. What kind of legacy are you leaving?