The world often sees the concept of legacy in terms of a gift of property, money or other inheritance that is passed down to others after you die. When I think about legacy I think about the spiritual impact that one makes on family, friends and others who hear the stories of faithfulness.
When we celebrated the life of Trevor Floyd, who died suddenly at age 30, we reflected a lot on the rich legacy of passionate faith he handed down to us. It’s strange that a person so young can affect so many people in a profound way. It teaches us that a legacy is formed and prepared long before your hair turns gray. It should cause us to pause and reflect on what we are doing today that will change the lives of the people around us.
This Saturday we will celebrate the life of Deanna Griffin, who spent the last 53 years here in the Chico/Durham area. She turned 80 this year and has struggled with the effects of Parkinson’s since 1994. The faith of this woman is still instructing us as I heard story after story of her steadfastness in walking with Jesus and trusting Him to come through. She wrote her children letters that instructed them in matters of faith and shared the truth found in God’s Word. Deanna modeled what it looks like to serve and bless others – from Butte College students at the snack bar to social workers at the California Youth Authority. She consistently sacrificed her time and energy to be involved in the lives of her family, and while she was silly and fun loving – she would dig her heels in to guard the truth.
Deanna’s youngest son Robert was in a really bad car accident in 1984. The doctor told the family that they should give up and collect his organs, because his brain was not showing signs of activity. This usually joyful little lady became very serious, leaned in and told the doctor what was going to happen next.
Doctor: “Your son’s brain dead and he won’t live.”
Deanna: “My son will not die. God told me that my son will not die – your tests are wrong, you need to go back and run another test.”
After running another test the doctor said,
“Well I don’t know how to explain this. This is so crazy, but the test showed that there is blood flowing in the brain.”
Deanna: “ Doctor, you need to do another surgery.”
After another brain surgery, Robert’s life was saved, and then he took a long road to recovery.
The faith and willingness to come against everything in the natural world seemed outlandish and could have been dismissed as the painful cry of a mother’s heart that was grieving. Deanna walked with Jesus and knew what His voice sounded like. She is still instructing us on how to live after her life on earth is over.
If you died tomorrow and we examined your last week of life – what we conclude about what you held most dear? If we looked at your calendar, your checkbook, your browser history, the books on your bedside table and your facebook posts – what would we conclude? What would we learn? What kind of legacy are you leaving?
Whether you like it or not, you are leaving a legacy, and you are contributing to it today.
How then shall we live this day in light of eternity and thinking about the precious people in our life that are learning by watching our lives?
May God bless you with the discipline to pause and reflect on your life today, to make course corrections and adjustments, and to leave a Godly, and beautiful legacy that lasts long after you are gone.
-Andrew Burchett, Lead Pastor