Most pastors, evangelists, and Christian teachers talk about converting the unsaved to Christ, or how a person who is a Christian should live their life. Some speak to witnessing and evangelism. These are all excellent and valid topics that need emphasizing and explaining. The one topic I don’t hear or see Christian leaders expounding on is the Christian’s legacy, what he or she is going to leave behind them when they go on to meet Jesus in heaven.
Much secular attention is paid to having a good will so that what worldly possessions one has accumulated will be distributed among relatives and friends according to the wishes of the deceased. Many TV shows and movies have been based on plots by one or more persons to alter the outcome of a will. An old joke about the reading of a will says, “And to my nephew Charlie whom I promised to remember in my will: Hi Charlie”. I assume that Charlie was not a happy camper. But, what about the Christian work we are-or should be-doing here on earth while we’re here? What will become of that when we die?
The apostle Paul went from being a person Christians hated and feared to being the most influential apostle in the first century church. He was a major influence in building, maintaining, and directing the course of the church and keeping it on track while he lived. He also wrote letters which now make up more than half of the New Testament books. Even more so if he wrote Hebrews. The author of that book isn’t known for sure, but it is certainly pauline in style, and many researchers attribute Hebrews to him. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote letters that are now the four gospels. John also wrote First, Second, and Third John. And, Luke also wrote Acts.
In recent times, Billy Graham lead hundreds of thousands of people to Christ through his evangelism, and his Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) continues his work today. To Rev. Graham’s credit, he tried to have local churches follow up on new conversions as much as possible to see that they had help in growing into mature Christians. Many evangelists just preach in one place and then go on to another city or town. New conversions are left to fend for themselves. Some continue on to become solid Christians but most do not. Continued mentoring and teaching is essential for new Christians, but it is often overlooked in the head-long rush to make more conversions.
Not everyone can be a Paul or Billy Graham. We do have a responsibility to others, ourselves, and to God to help lead as many people to the Lord as possible, and to help them grow into solid Christians. A corporate head hunter once asked a prospective new executive what his main goal in life was. The interviewee replied, “To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can”. He didn’t say to lead as many people as he could to Christ, although that was part of it. He said to take as many people with him as he could. That statement implied his continued mentoring of those he helped the Holy Spirit lead to Christ so that they became mature Christians who could stand on their own.
Now, here’s the important part of the mentoring. Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission to “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19,20). A primary command, then, is to go and teach the unsaved, and with the Holy Spirit’s help they can lead more of the unsaved to salvation. Of utmost importance is instilling in new conversions the gravity of their responsibility to help the Spirit bring others to Christ and to help them grow.
Therein is your Christian legacy. What you should be leaving behind is a family of hundreds of thousands of Christians that will continue to lead more of the unsaved to salvation. It’s easy to leave hundreds of thousands of Christians behind that are working to bring millions more to the Lord. An old story I heard when I was knee-high to a grasshopper is about a boy who saved the life of a king’s daughter. The king out of gratitude told the boy he could have anything he wanted. The boy said, “Give me a penny today, and double it every day for a year”. That was a wise request, because by the end of the year the king was giving the boy millions of dollars every day, which doubled the next day, and the next, until the year was up.
Solid Christian mentoring works the same way. If you lead only two people to God, and each leads two more who lead two more, by the end of your stay here on earth there will be hundreds of millions of Christians leading hundreds of millions more people to salvation. You can certainly lead many more that two to salvation. The key is not to leave a new conversion and go on your way. Help each new conversion to become solid in their faith and commitment to God. Impress on them the importance of leading others to the cross of Christ and then teaching them all that Jesus has commanded of you and them. If you do that you’ll leave behind a legacy much greater and much richer than anything anyone has or ever will leave behind in a will. And, right this minute is the perfect time to start practicing the Great Commandment.