What Do You Leave Behind?

I was reading the January 4, 2006 Mark Steyn article from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and came across this quote:

In July 2003, speaking to the U.S. Congress, Tony Blair remarked: “As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind?”

I am 58. I use the numerals rather than fifty-eight because they have more impact. I joked in my last post about trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. Right… Not much growing left to do. We who are fortunate enough to have lived this long begin to look at the diminishing days ahead and the many spent days cluttering our memories and ask ourselves the very thing Tony Blair asked, “What am I going to leave behind?”

As a believer in Christ I see an assured future, secure in the Blood of the Lamb. But one day those books will be opened and God and everyone else will look at what I left behind, the breadcrumbs of my life as I traversed the trials and tribulations of a fallen world. Everything, including every thought, every word uttered and deed done in secret, will ring through eternity under the scrutiny of all sentience.

This brings me to the obvious question. What is worth doing during the time I have left? What better breadcrumbs can I leave from this point forward than what I have left so far? Too often we look at the elements of the Christian life, like discipleship, and concoct a view of our journey through life as primarily being concerned with us, what we are “becoming”. After all we are clay on God’s potter’s wheel and he is fashioning us into a really fine vessel for service and it is our job to help him wherever and however we can. It is easy for our focus to shift almost entirely onto our own creative event.

But this is poppycock, an insidious lie of the Devil. Just so you understand, I am not saying that our “becoming” is not part of the Christian life, only that it should never be the important part. Maybe it should not even be a significant part.

Let me explain. Look at the Great Commission:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Notice how other-centered that command is. Jesus’ demand was not for us to disciple ourselves, to perfect and present ourselves as holy and blameless, as important as that is. It was to disciple others, to be other-centered. Look at Ephesians 5 and how the husband’s focus is not on himself but his wife. He is to present her, sacrifice himself for her, to be her-centered, not self-centered. And if that is not enough, look at the judgment seat of Christ, when those who are cast aside tout what they did, who they were, while those called to Christ’s bosom were other-centered and self-sacrificial.

So. I ask myself and since you are reading this, I ask you too, “What are you going to leave behind?”

May God’s grace and peace guide and direct your steps today and all this weeks into leaving behind bread crumbs that matter. Amen.