Monday, January 12, 2015

Legacy


It was an interesting read this past December. My daily reading in the Bible had me in 2 Chronicles. In case you're unfamiliar, 2 Chronicles, much like 1 Chronicles, or 1 & 2 Kings, gives us glimpses into the lives of Israel's and Judah's kings.

Good, bad, short rule or long, we're given relatively brief stories when one considers these guys lived for 40 years or more.

What we have is their legacy. It's an elongated obituary.

Having read their stories, I didn't think much of it until I came across an article in USA Today, where they were recounting the many people we lost in 2014. The actors and actresses, the athletes, the politicians and others who had contributed something considered worthy to our society. The list was interesting enough. It included names I recognized and names I did not recognize.

What struck me was how short the whole article was. I imagine it was the standard length for a newspaper article, but considering the many names that were included, so much more could have been written. Each name represented a life. Each life was so much more than the obvious contributions that were mentioned. Obviously each name, each life, was given more due at the time of their passing, around friends and family members who knew each person on a deeper level.

But to think that each person's life could be summed up in a few sentences made me pause. Much like the legacy of kings listed in the Old Testament books, so much more could be written. While some kings only lived short lives, many ruled for 40 or more years. Surely they did more than the good or evil that was mentioned. Surely they accomplished more than building walls, fighting battles and tearing down (or building up) idols. Aren't we told we often have no idea what kind of impact we are making on others? Most of won't know until much later in life, if ever at all.

The same must have been true for those kings. And for those actors, actresses, athletes, politicians and others who died in 2014.

But wait, there's more.

The names listed in that USA Today article only represent a small percentage of the people who died last year. The kings chronicled in the pages of the Bible only represent a small number of the Jewish people of Israel and Judah who lived during these up and down times. What about them? What about their stories?

Maybe you lost someone last year as well. It is unlikely their story saw national headlines. I'm not saying anything about their worth here, just assuming the percentages. Were the stories of the untold masses less worthy of being told. Perhaps from a grand historical perspective, but the lives they lived, the choices they made, had an impact on the people around them. For better or worse, countless others knew the difference made by the people we have never heard of. Whether their stories would be age-turners or snooze fests is not for us to decide here.

The point is that, while steeped in insignificance, a legacy was left behind to be remembered by those who knew each of them. The same is true for each of you. No matter the level of grand impact you are making on this world, your story does matter. It might never be told in a way that makes the silver screen or an epic biography, but nevertheless, your story will be lived out. Your impact, large or small, will be made. People around you, in positive or negative ways, will be changed because of you.

Your story may not be highlighted where many will read, but if it helps, there's space below to comment and share. I'm told it's what friends do. I believe it will make a difference.

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