And don’t tell me that I have no authority to write like this. I’m perfectly free to do this—isn’t that obvious? Haven’t I been given a job to do? Wasn’t I commissioned to this work in a face-to-face meeting with Jesus, our Master? Aren’t you yourselves proof of the good work that I’ve done for the Master? Even if no one else admits the authority of my commission, you can’t deny it. Why, my work with you is living proof of my authority! (THE MESSAGE)
Each of us will leave a legacy of some sort behind us when we draw our last breath. Mention of this might cause us to think immediately in terms of money or property. But legacies are much more than this.
Paul reminds his readers that they are his legacy, his testimonial, evidence of the authentic and godly nature of his ministry. One of the best legacies we can leave behind is found not in bricks and mortar but in flesh and blood.
Have our lives enriched the lives of others? Or have we just accumulated things for ourselves, pursued our own detached agendas? Are our small worlds better places because for a time we have been part of them, shaping and reshaping them? Or have we left a trail of human wreckage in our wake as we relentlessly press ahead with what pleases us?
Materially poor people can leave rich legacies. Materially rich people can leave poor legacies. Our legacies are best measured in terms of the richness and depth of our relationships, in terms of the love we have shared. And for followers of Jesus, they are measured by how much or perhaps how little Jesus has been seen through us.
Most of our legacies won’t hit the headlines. They will consist of small acts of kindness, quiet words of wisdom. Not so much a big splash but a gentle ripple.