My high school is putting together a reunion this month. When I received my invitation questions filled my mind, “What would people remember about me? What would they expect me to be like today? What legacy did I leave behind?” As I thought about these questions I grew convicted over the answers. They may remember stupid things that I had done, accomplishments, or activities we enjoyed but would they remember Christ? Was Jesus my legacy? I can’t help but think I wasted the opportunity. Our teens have been working through Ephesians 5:15-17 this summer. Here Paul says this, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” True wisdom sees each moment as an opportunity to put Christ on display in word and deed.
John Piper tells a story of a hard and resistant man in his old age. The church spent decades praying for this man’s salvation. One night the church held an evangelism meeting. The old man stumbled in while the evangelist preached but by the end of the service something was different. Everyone was amazed as the old man took the preacher aside, sat down, and wept. God had done a work in his heart to bring him to Jesus. Tears of the joy of his salvation soon turned to tears of sadness as he sat there. Those remaining in the auditorium could hear only, “I’ve wasted it! I’ve wasted it!” The man had come to the realization that there were decades he had wasted apart from Christ. John Piper concludes this story by saying this, “The thought of coming to my old age and saying through tears, ‘I’ve wasted it! I’ve wasted it!’ was a fearful and horrible thought to me.” In Philippians 1:20-21, Paul says, “[It is] my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul wrote these words in the midst of imprisonment. He saw every opportunity as a means to magnify Christ. Each moment and situation was an opportunity to leave a legacy of Jesus. As I look back at my high school years I could say that I made the most of my time, but little of that time had to do with Jesus. I sit here now knowing that I wasted it. I wasted the open doors. I wasted the conversations. Instead of glorifying Christ, I glorified myself. I put my pride, my wants, my relationships above Christ and in that I wasted the only reason I was brought to that high school and placed in those relationships.
At first word of the reunion my heart felt relieved. My initial reaction was, “Yes, a second chance!” I saw this as an opportunity to right my wrongs. “Now I could make much of Christ!” As I prepared for the reunion I thought about redeeming the time. I rehearsed the conversations that I could now have that I missed way back when. As the date for the reunion came closer however, instead of confirmation for my plans I found a roadblock. There was a date conflict with another scheduled event. I couldn’t go. I questioned God on this, “How could this be? Why can’t I have this opportunity?” I sensed the Lord’s response in gentle rebuke, “I gave you 4 years of opportunities.” And that was that. I foolishly didn’t understand what the will of the Lord was for those years. In result I wasn’t careful how I walked nor did I make the most of my time. I unwisely wasted it. I think about the many students returning to school and want to cry out, “Don’t waste it! Don’t wait for the reunion!” The Lord has graciously given us today to put Christ on display. See your situations, relationships, conversations and moments as opportunities to leave a legacy of Jesus. The evangelist Mark Cahill says that there’s one thing that we can’t do in heaven and that is, share Christ. Make the most of your time!
Desiring Jesus To Be Our Legacy, Pastor Rudy