I have never met anyone who wants their life to be a complete failure. Every person wants to know their life has counted for something. We all want to have a great legacy.
As people, we reach various stages of life when we spend more time in self reflection and consider the legacy we are having. Moments like the birth, graduation, or wedding of a child can lead us to examine the legacy we have or will leave in their lives. Career changes are also a time where people consider how they want their contributions at work to make a difference.
Between now and Father’s Day, I plan to look at one passage of Scripture I believe has some key decisions we all must make in life. These decisions will ultimately determine the legacy we will leave.
Decision #1: Who are you following?
In 2 Timothy 2:1, the apostle Paul addresses a young man he is mentoring by the name of Timothy. He calls Timothy “my son.” They are not biological father and son, but they have a bond that Paul considers to be like this type of relationship. This gives you a glimpse of the decision Timothy made with his life – “I’m going to follow this guy named Paul.”
All of us are following someone or something. There is something shaping our thinking, our set of beliefs. There is someone influencing our actions, attitudes, and how we spend our time and money.
It has been said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. David Burkus takes it even further with research concluding we are the average of ALL the people we surround ourselves with.
You’re not the average of the FIVE people you surround with. It’s way bigger than that. You’re the average of all the people who surround you. So take a look around and make sure you’re in the right surroundings.
Being a Good Follower
I fully recognize we live in an age of Twitter where following someone means I’m casually interested in what you have to say. This is not the type of follower I am talking about here. A good follower is like a student who is soaking up the purpose, thinking, and actions of the person they are following. Then they seek to implement those principles into their own life.
When I look at my own life, I can see the people who had the most influence. I see some of the good habits I have formed by learning from them, and I also know the harmful habits I have picked up.
Questions to Consider
- Is the person I am following seeking to follow Jesus? (see 1 Corinthians 11:1)
- Does the person I am following genuinely care about me? Paul called Timothy his “son.” That’s a statement of real intimacy.
- Is the person I am following seeking their own fame or are they helping me to walk closely with Jesus? John the Baptist lost followers because He pointed them to Jesus; Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong in the grace of Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1)
Take some time and examine your life today. Who are you following, and how are they helping to shape the legacy you are leaving for your family and in this world?