Legacy: The Kryptonite of Faithfulness, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, July 8, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

This week's blog post picks up where we left off last week. Click here to go back and read part 1.

I mentioned last week that we would look at an example that might help us let go of legacy thinking and focus on God's calling and mission for those who follow Him.

Take a look at Exodus 32-34. This is a famous moment in Exodus. Back in chapter 24, Moses, Aaron, 70 elders, and others were invited up to the mountain for a symbolic “wedding” that takes place – God marrying His people in a covenant relationship. Then God gives instructions for the place of worship, the order of community, and the 10 commandments. Moses goes back on the mountain and the people hardly wait until he is out of sight to start wondering if he is coming back.

Read Exodus 32:1-2. It seems we fall into the legacy trap most easily when we let impatience, boredom, or our own control get the better of us.

When we have a sense of urgency about something that is not of God, we will tend to make a God of our own choosing to lead us where we want to go. When God seems to be taking too long to get where we think we should be going, we start pressuring our leaders to take us into the land we have imagined instead of the land that is promised to us.

When we let our expectations of what is the “right way” to do things drive us forward instead of checking what God has asked us to do, we start to wonder where God is. When experiences, traditions, and preferences are lifted up as sacred and the mission of God is rejected because it rewrites those traditions, requires that we move beyond those experiences, or demands that we surrender our preferences, we start to look around and wonder where the man of God is. We start to ask where Moses is, grumble about where my seat on the pew is, argue about the color of the paint on the walls, or the use of technology in worship, or the sound of the music, or the clothing worn by guests… and the list goes on.

Underneath the surface of all of this, something more sinister stirs.

The belief that God can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13) becomes captive to the language of we can’t do things because of money, time, attendance, or so and so’s grandfather (who died 20 years ago) wouldn’t like that. Suddenly we say God is able, but because of our circumstances, traditions, belief about what is sacred, or just our personal ownership and investment, we say we can't. Well if God is able and we can't, then who is standing in the wrong place or trusting the wrong focus?

Do you see the trap of legacy thinking? It takes experiences and traditions meant to fuel the passion of our future journey with God and turns them into weights we cannot lay aside. It turns the launch pad of one generation into cement shoes for the next that prevent anyone raised in the culture from following wherever God leads them.

Do you see how the very nature of looking to our accomplishments and achievements, and charting the mileposts we have checked off along the way, only casts our eyes backward and ties us to the places we have been, instead of leveraging that experience for those who will advance into the next phase of God’s mission?

Legacy thinking leads us to Esau's mourning and weeping (Hebrews 12:16). We get to a point where the choices we have made have so directed our mindset that we can no longer change, adapt, or support the next part of the mission. Worse yet, it causes our older people to disengage because their legacy is done, and it leaves a new generation without the influence of wisdom to apply to new challenges. They end up repeating the same mistakes and stopping short of God with their own golden calf – their own attainable personal legacy.

Please notice what Moses does in Exodus 32:20-30:

  • He burnt the idol.
  • He made them drink it as a reminder and taste its bitterness.
  • He confronted leadership.
  • He purified the community of those who would not trust God.
  • He desperately pleaded with God for mercy and the grace for another chance.

Sometimes we invest so much that we are blind to how off course we are, or feel we cannot give the effort to course correct and go where God asks us to.

Whenever we are concerned with OUR legacy, we will miss God's purpose and get off course, especially when His purpose requires that we surrender ourselves and our control to Him.

How about you?

  • What needs burned up, ground up, and needs to be a bitter taste for a while to get back on course?
  • What has distracted you to believe YOU can’t, even though GOD can?
  • Where do you need to get honest with your leaders and their priorities?
  • Where do you need to let your leaders help you get honest about your own priorities?

If we are going to avoid the legacy trap, we need to get desperately honest about our motives, our beliefs, and whether we are serving God's mission. Are you willing to lay aside EVERYthing that hinders (and the sin that entangles us) to run His race? Are you running, looking toward Jesus to guide you? Or are you just building another monument of achievement for others to remember you by?

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