LEAVING A LEGACY OF FAITH
Once a year our Church family takes a break from the routine and spends a Sunday worshiping in the park. We are a smaller church in the middle of the mega churches so we can still do this…it’s a family church of about 300. This year we were at Rockledge park in Grapevine Texas. There was rain in the forecast, but thankfully it never really materialized. We moved the start time back one hour to give the temperatures a chance to raise and also to give the sun a chance to shine through the clouds. Both of those things happened. What we didn’t account for, however, was the wind. It was a 23 MPH wind and this made it a bit colder than we would have liked. This meant that the worship was a bit abbreviated. My lesson was also abbreviated so here it is in Full.
For the next few minutes, I wanted to talk about Legacy. Specifically the legacy we are leaving as individuals and as the body of Christ. Let’s look at this through a story in John chapter 21. A few questions as you turn.
- What kind of legacy are we leaving?
- Are we leaving a legacy of faith?
- Are we leaving a legacy of purpose or of survival?
- Are we leaving a legacy of Gratitude? Thankfulness?
What kind of legacy should we be leaving those little ones who are running around this place today?
What kind of legacy should we be leaving those generations who will follow us?
This is a great location for our conversation. Jesus has died…he’s risen again…but the apostles find themselves back in their old way of life. Have you ever had a moment when the idea of Resurrection wasn’t enough for you? For these apostles, it wasn’t enough. Even with everything you’ve seen and experienced…with everything you’ve declared and have done…You find yourself going back to your old way of life…old way of doing things? These apostles had gone back to their old life and were doing what they were doing before. Fishing. Let’s read.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas(also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Jesus shows up to the lake…a lot like this one and watches them struggling with their old way of life. They are doing things their way…and getting nowhere. Sometimes life is like that isn’t it? But for some people, no matter how much resistance they are getting, they continue in that life. They aren’t thinking about the future…they aren’t thinking about the legacy being left to the next generation…they are thinking about survival…
But then Jesus shows up and tells them to do things a little differently. Try it my way for a moment he says. And, they do it. What follows is considered a miracle of Fish. But it never would have happened if these men continued in their way of doing things. It was not wrong for them to be fishing necessarily. Fishing is much needed. But for these men, Jesus had called them to more. remember in John 20:21? It’s John’s moment of Great Commission 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” john 20:21 nrsv These men had been called to do something else, something that would pave the way for generations yet unborn, but instead, yet they had returned to their old way instead of going where they had been sent. What happens next? Vs 7 –
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
There’s still a spark left in Peter. A spark of hope…desire for Good and for God…so he swims to Jesus. He risks it all and goes to him and then this.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus has one last chance here to inspire his followers. And he starts with Peter. Remember, Peter betrayed Jesus the night before he was crucified. Equally as disturbing as what Judas did, so Jesus inspires by restoring Peter to himself. But he did so through giving him a mission.
Feed my lambs…
Care for my sheep.
Feed my sheep.
Jesus was still teaching them how to leave a legacy of faith. It’s to pay attention to others…specifically those in your care.
Feed my lambs…you can’t feed them just anything. You can’t feed a steak to a baby. you have to care for that lamb…know that lamb…,know what they are capable of. Feed them and help them grow…
Care for my sheep. Show them what it means to be loved. If they love you back or if they don’t. Our job is to care for them. watch them…spend time with them…walk with them…heal them…lead them…
Feed my sheep. Leading these sheep to green pastures…to fertile land…knowing what they need to eat and when. For some, knowing when it’s time to move to richer and more nutritious food so that they can be filled and can be healthy.
Jesus Gave peter a legacy of Purpose. But it couldn’t be approached through their old way of doing things. Continuing the legacy of Jesus is to care…to be fully present with people.
Looking through the metaphor, caring for someone is to show them how to engage a difficult and dangerous world in the way of Jesus. it is to show them what it means to be grateful…to be thoughtful…to be servants. Jesus Gave them purpose here. I can only imagine peter leaving that breakfast with a new mindset…a new mission…a renewed purpose to leave a mark…not his own…but the mark of Jesus on the world. Are you leaving the mark of Jesus on the world? What legacy are you leaving?
Are we being good ancestors? to our family? To this church family?
when things go well are we thankful?
when things go poorly do we despair and complain?
when something needs to be done to we grumble because no one is doing it or do we step up?
Are we showing the next generation that this family is important or do we show them how everything else comes first?
Are we fully present? Do we pay attention? Feed one another? Care for one another?
George Orwell author, said this about legacy.
“A thing which I regret, and which I will try to remedy some time, is that I have never in my life planted a walnut. Nobody does plant them nowadays—when you see a walnut it is almost invariably an old tree. If you plant a walnut you are planting it for your grandchildren, and [what young person] cares …for his grandchildren?”
Are we back and forth through our old way of life or can we stop and take a moment to consider the Legacy of faith we are leaving for those who will come after us? The results of the seeds we plant today, we may never see…but generations to come will see it. Will what they see be a legacy of faith? A legacy of purpose? It’s your choice! What will you leave. Take a moment today and let God give you purpose.