A recent ad for Gold’s Gym caught my eye: “What will be your legacy?” I’m not sure what working out has to do with creating a legacy, but it made me think. I believe we all have an inner calling to make a difference in our lives; to have lived a life of significance.
But what constitutes significance – is it success? If that is the case, then I suppose Howard Hughes might be our role model; after all, he was the richest man in the United States, worth 2.5 billion dollars when he died. He owned a private fleet of jets, hotels and casinos. He also spent the last 15 years of his life a drug addict.
Not a single acquaintance or relative mourned his death. The only honor he received was a moment of silence in his Las Vegas casinos. Time magazine put it this way: “Howard Hughes’ death was commemorated in Las Vegas by a minute of silence. Casinos fell silent. Housewives stood uncomfortable clutching their paper cups full of coins at the slot machines, the blackjack games paused, and at the crap tables the stickmen cradled the dice in the crook of their wooden wands. Then a pit boss looked at his watch, leaned forward and whispered, “O.K., roll the dice. He’s had his minute.”
Or is significance proportional to our service to others and in doing the will of God through our daily lives?
In which case, Our Lord Jesus Christ becomes our role model. But how do we follow God’s will? God does not provide MapQuest for his saints so they can be sure to understand the whole path of their pilgrimage here. Almost always He provides only one thing: the very next step. Not the next two steps. Not the next three steps. And like Abraham, He calls us to take the next step wholly blind as to what the next step that will follow.
And make no mistake, being used by God sooner or later turns one’s world upside down. There are many whose lives have been profoundly impacted by their response to God’s highly inconvenient calling upon their lives. He disturbs us at His will. Human arrangements are disregarded, family ties ignored, business claims put aside. We are not asked if it is convenient. The Lord expects to be trusted.
I propose that our legacy, how we will be remembered in this world, ultimately intersects with the fundamental dilemma of being human, always coming back to that one simple and yet often incredibly difficult choice, “My will or God’s will?” A choice we must make over…and over…and over again.