In just a few weeks, there will be a race like no other as people around the globe seek to be the first to turn their calendars from December 31, 2020 to January 1, 2021. History will show that 2020 was a year of turmoil, destruction and division on a global scale, with lasting repercussions. However, I can’t help but wonder what the legacy of 2020 will be.
By definition, natural disasters bring devastation. Whether it be death, injury, economic destruction, or lasting environmental damage, disasters cause pain on a large scale. As a nation, we have historically responded to disasters by rallying together, giving selflessly, and seeking to work as a broader community to overcome the devastation and ease the pain of those who are suffering. Past disasters and national emergencies have left us with a legacy of rising up together, uniting as neighbors to emerge stronger than we were before.
History reflects the occurrence of events, including devastating calamities. Our legacy, individually and collectively, demonstrates our character as revealed during those times. As I look back on this last year, I’m concerned that our national legacy has evolved, and not in a good way. What is even more disturbing is the underlying reality that our national legacy cannot evolve unless our individual legacies are also changing. If ever there was a year for demonstrating that we will pull together and overcome the disasters that have befallen us, this has been it. Instead, those opportunities have been squandered and we seem more inclined to look out for ourselves. For a nation founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs, we are moving further and further away from behavior that reflects a love for our neighbors.
The harsh reality of our own legacy is that we only have the time while we are living to create it. Once we take our last breath, there is nothing more that can be done. Death has a way of cementing our choices, our behaviors, and our attitudes. A will may carry out our last wishes, but even those wishes will simply be a reflection of who we were while we still lived. We will all leave a legacy, whether we wish to or not, whether it is one that we would be proud of or not, whether it is one that reflects what we claim to believe in or not.
2020 isn’t over quite yet, and neither is your life. I strongly encourage you to spend some time considering what your legacy would be if you were to die today. For Christians who hold Jesus up as their Lord, their lives should be a reflection of the love that He showed the world, even to the point of being willing to lay down their own lives as an act of love. Our legacy should be shaped by His legacy. If our lives today reflect something other than the love of Christ in how we treat others or how we use the gifts and resources entrusted to us, then thank God that you still have breath in your lungs to make some changes. May your own personal legacy ultimately be one of love, kindness, mercy and grace.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron