Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Legacy of Trust

At the beginning of the year, my pastor, Mac Richard encouraged us to read through the Bible in 2009. Needless to say, I'm giving it a go. I've never been a proponent of a yearly read because I worry about retention, but though I've read every book in the Bible at some time over the past 5 or 6 years, and many twice or three times, I feel like this is the right thing to do. Shoot, if I tell people that I'm a Narrative Theologian, I should probably read the Bible as a holistic narrative. It makes sense. Things are going well thus far, but I haven't reached Leviticus and Chronicles yet, so we'll see. I'm trusting that God will pull this enormous story together for me in 2009.

One theme that I keep picking up on, in and throughout my reading of Genesis is the profound effect we have on those we love, both in negative and positive ways. I think through the story of Abraham, trusting God in leaving home, conceiving his son, circumcision(bet that was scary), sacrificing the son promised to be a great nation, and then watching God provide a lamb to replace his son in sacrifice. Abraham was building a legacy of trust, that he passes on just a few chapters later when he sends out a servant to find Isaac, his son, a wife. I mean he sends this servant on a journey cross-country to find a wife the servant has never seen or heard of. Somehow camels work there way into the plan, and what do you know the servant, having observed a trustworthy God, and a man who trusted that God in everything struck out and found Rebekah. Later Moses trusts God and then Joshua.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my legacy. I know that's supposed to be something you think about when you have kids or turn fifty, but these stories continually point me back to a people completely dependent on God, trusting him in everything. I think that sometimes in church ministry we all have a tendency to search out the latest trend, idea, program, style, setup, leadership technique, and so on and so forth. None of that is inherently wrong or bad. Relevance, Wisdom and Trust are must haves for effective ministry and they go hand in hand. But I don't want to leave a legacy of trust in chariots, as the Bible might say. I don't want the legacy I leave to be one of just pragmatic intellect, smart leadership and great ideas. (I don't have them that often anyway) I want it to be bigger than me. I want students and adults alike to trust Jesus, in all of life, every single day and on into eternity, because I modeled it consistently in my life. I want to join Abraham in leaving a legacy of radical trust on the people God gives me the opportunity to influence in this life.