Isaiah 43:1 “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.”
What do you want to be remembered for?
When examining your life’s work, what legacy do you want to leave behind?
Many people in history have tried to make a name for themself. The method’s have been many, from renowned actors, famous athletes, ingenious scientists, great explorers, to incredible humanitarians—the list seems endless of those who have left an indelible mark in history.
Let us consider for a moment what acclaim does for a person.
“We publish only to satisfy our craving for fame; there’s no other motive except the even baser one of making money….”Thomas Bernhard, Concrete
“So many stars in the sky, each unique and full of destiny. I wanted more than anything to be part of those stars.Tracy Krimmer, All That Glitters
I never realized becoming one would destroy me.”
Many of those people who have made fame and fortune their focus, have since realized the position comes with a price.
Loss of freedom, loss of privacy, continuous scrutiny, obsession with self, personal dissatisfaction with looks, position, or just being overly skeptical of the last performance—whatever the endeavor, the image presented to the world becomes the overreaching drive to maintain that position.
Money? Fame? Legacy?
What are you willing to sacrifice so that your name is remembered in this world?
“The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do without thought of fame. If it comes at all it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after.”Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There is a long history of those who have gained fame and it ruined their lives, some have handled it well, many have let the attention and riches destroy them.
The idea that fame brings happiness is one that has summarily been disproved. Sure, there are certain luxuries that famous people have, we are given glimpses of that luxury and may think to ourselves, “I wonder what it would be like?” and yet we can hear from those who have gone before us and know the trade off isn’t what it appears to be.
I suppose the first place to look for meaning in life is the Word of God. Since God created us and knows us, He knows what is best for us. Whether we are thrust into the spotlight of the world or if we die alone and no one knows our name, what is the greatest calling a man or woman can acquire?
Isaiah 43:7 “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’”
vs. 15 “I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator and King.”
vs. 21 “I have made Israel for myself, and they will someday honor me before the whole world.”
When God raises up a person or a people, He gives them a specific purpose—to glorify His name.
My wife is an introvert and so I’ve been trying to get her involved in a women’s Bible study for several years. Praise God, the Lord brought a pastors wife into her life that has pulled her into a relationship with her and other women. The Bible study she started is focusing on a book called, ‘Women of the Word‘ by Jen Wilkin. Since my wife isn’t a big reader, I started reading the book to her, it helps her retain the information and brings us together in unity. As I was reading the first chapter, it spoke of how we all too often read the Bible with ourselves in mind, thinking the Bible is meant for us and speaking about the human condition. Although the Bible does address many human issues, the primary focus is about the Lord. The point Jen Wilkin was making is we often read the Bible looking to understand ourselves yet when we make our focus on understanding the greatest ideal of which the Lord embodies, we see ourselves in light of His revelation. Our fears, insecurities, and doubts can never be banished by the knowledge of who we are, Wilkin’s reminds us that it is in understanding the great I Am we gain the perspective necessary for life.
The name of Jesus is the only name that is deserving of acclaim.
Why you may ask?
- He is perfect—we are not.
- He is good——we are not.
- He is just——–we are not.
- He is faithful—-we are not.
I could go on for pages and pages on the attributes of God and all that He is and still have room for more. When we compare ourselves to God….there simply is no comparison.
Why would we take the praise and adoration for something He Created?
Everything we have, every gift and ability, from athleticism to intelligence, it has been given to us.
Consider the world and the way the world handles acclaim.
1 John 2:17 “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
The Academy Awards is an event that recognizes people in Hollywood. People who are in the business of creating entertainment elect those who they like the best, people who they believe acted a part better than others, someone who produced a show, or others who provided the effects that led to a show’s success.
When an award recipient takes the stage they approach the microphone and thank everyone who contributed to their success. Co-actors are given credit and the crowd applauds, a spouse or lover is credited for their support, a director for the way they handled the course of shooting the scenes and so on and so forth. Rarely, if ever, does someone take the stage and thank God for giving them the ability to remember lines, or getting the big break they needed to get such a part, or the health and strength to endure all the pressures that such an industry presents.
An athlete accepts the award for MVP (most valuable player) while another athlete is part of a championship team and gets a special ring or trophy that represents their success.
Do any of these awards or momento’s carry with them value into eternity?
Trophies end up in boxes, moments in history fade into the forgotten, and the acclaim of man is lost to the world that focuses on what someone is doing today.
When we consider what a legacy looks like, we must have an eye toward the eternal.
When this world passes away and all that it ever presented or was known, all that will remain is what has eternal value.
All that has eternal value is represented in Christ.
Revelation 21:22-27 “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
- The Lord reveals His name in Creation.
- The Lord reveals His name through His people.
- The Lord is lifted up for who He is and what He has done.
When we glorify God, we take all that He has given us and lift it up before the world.
The man or woman of God that has taken this approach has found true value in life.
What will people remember you by?
My wife and I recently took a trip to Phoenix, AZ, and while we were there we enjoyed going for a walk in the mornings and evenings. One day we were walking and came across a graveyard, it looked different than other graveyards we’ve seen before and so we strolled through and read the legacy of those who had gone before us.
Some gravesites had beer bottles set beside them, others had whiskey flasks, some had flowers that may have symbolized their passions, while others had woven baskets or brief descriptions of what they meant to others.
The times and eras of those people have passed on into history, all that is left is a memory of what used to be.
Out of all those people represented, what do you suppose left the greatest mark?
The best way for you to have your name remembered is not by your accomplishments but how you loved God and loved one another. Anyone can show eros love with a partner, show familial love, or friendship…but godly love–Agape love–is a love that comes by way of knowing God and experiencing His presence in your life.
It is impossible to not love others when the love of God is in you. That love transcends time and it is that love which carries you into eternity.
The love that Jesus first showed us brings with it a grace that makes us acceptable before the Father. By accepting the love of Christ we follow Him in repentance. A life that is filled with the love of God seeks to love Him in return.
It is the love of the Father, in Christ, that leaves our name written in His Book of Life…these represent His church, His Bride, His people. If you want to really have a legacy, let Jesus establish that legacy in you. He is eternal and all that He does has eternal ramifications.
He knows your name. Do you know Him?