So, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “noble” things pastors/church planters often say (see here and here). One of the things that Christian leaders (or anyone with any influence for that matter) must wrestle with is the idea of “legacy.” We like to think that we’re doing things “for the next generation” but what if we really don’t see tremendous change in our lifetime? What if the fruit of our labors doesn’t sprout until long after we’re gone?
Think about God’s covenant with Abra(ha)m. Much of the promise God made to Abraham was actually more for Abraham’s descendants than him. They would receive the land some 400 years after being imprisoned, they would outnumber the stars but most of that would actually happen long after Abraham was gone.
What if, as a pastor, you are actually laboring for those that will come long after you? What if you labor without seeing (what you feel like is) a lot of fruit? Would we be OK with that? This may be especially true for the growing number of pastors who are no longer satisfied with the status quo of American Christianity. It takes a lot and a long time to break the bonds of consumerism and what if you don’t fully see a sea change in the culture of Christianity in your area during your life-time? What if you’re laying the groundwork for someone else?
When people are big and God is small (to reference a book you should really read), we’re less likely to labor without approval from people. But when we are convinced that we’re serving God; and, in fact, we serve out of an overflow of our joy in Him, we can keep going even when our egos aren’t being fed.
What if we’re called to labor for the next generation?