22 September, Thursday  – I don’t want to leave a legacy

Thursday of Week 25 in Ordinary Time

Ecc 1:2-11
Lk 9:7-9

Only no memory remains of earlier times, just as in times to come next year itself will not be remembered.

I recently listened to Fr. Mike Schmitz share in a sermon that most every year, he would ask his students this question, “What is the full name of your grandparents?” 

What about you – do you know your parent’s full names? Your grandparents’ full names? What about your great-grandparents – do you know their full names?

Fr. Mike went on to say that rarely did anyone know even one full name of one grandparent, much less a great-grandparent. He then shared something that gave me pause; he said that it has been said that we die twice – the first time when life leaves our body, and the second time when our name is spoken for the last time on this earth. 

Wow.

I’m not sure what to do with that….

We are in a time, a place and a space in this 21st century (what we ‘intelligent and enlightened’ humans call this present time) where we are constantly hearing about ‘leaving a legacy, making a lasting difference, leaving a mark…’  It all sounds quite wonderful and good, i.e. have a positive impact on this world that lasts, long after one has passed through this world. A lasting impact for the greater good of all humanity. Lofty goals, indeed! And why wouldn’t we want to do that? I lived with that desire, that ‘purpose for my life’ for many years. Yet in my desire, my quest of leaving a legacy God would be proud of — working which integrity, kindness, love and sharing my faith as best I could in this journey to make my fortune and claim a top rung on the ladder of success — I began to feel less than whole. At times, my quiet morning with God felt off. I was filled with more confusion than clarity, more impatience than peace and more questions, half questions and poorly-formed questions than answers. I couldn’t really hear God, if He was speaking to me; perhaps I was more focused on the human noise all around than listening for His whisper. I was searching, yet becoming more and more unsettled. I didn’t know what I was searching for anymore. I couldn’t really see myself in the future I had drawn and dreamed of, and worked toward for nearly 30 years. I knew others were counting on ME. I knew others were looking to ME. I was trying my best to ‘do’ what I thought He wanted me to do. I was trying to make a BIGGER impact, a GREATER difference, I was trying to leave a legacy that my name could be associated with FOR Him. And it seemed that I was growing smaller, falling back. 

Then I heard a song in 2018 by Casting Crowns that manifested what I had been praying to see, to understand — ‘I don’t want to leave a legacy, only Jesus.’ 

Those words seemed to be in direct conflict to the legacy “I” was trying to create. This legacy that fit perfectly into the fabric of everything around me. In America, we certainly have allowed the enemy to infiltrate every second and every inch with the focus on SELF. I. Me. My. The enemy knows the truth and therefore works in and out, weaving lies among the truth. Like the weeds growing in the wheat fields. I am grateful that this song reminded me of the truth.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXIBP2BdYR8

“Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself
Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else
Make a name the world remembers
But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams
I got lost in the light when it was up to me
To make a name the world remembers
But Jesus is the only name to remember

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus

All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won
Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done
‘Cause all that really mattered
Did I live the truth to the ones I love?
Was my life the proof that there is only One
Whose name will last forever?

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus

Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name to remember, oh
Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name to remember

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus

I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus

In the Gospel today, Luke shares that Herod the tetrarch is greatly perplexed. He knows he has beheaded John the Baptist, but now he seems to feel confused and even threatened by this person of whom he is hearing unexplainable things. Scripture states that he kept trying to see him. Herod was right to keep searching for this man. The one Herod was searching to find is the one man who shall never be forgotten.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Father God, here I stand, once again realizing the focus I have on myself. The focus that I know best and I’m making my way, as well as the focus of wanting to show you that I can do it on my own…for You. Lord God, help me to see that it isn’t about me and that if I will simply BE, you will allow my life to fall into place as You have willed. A place where I will be who You, through love, created me to be. 

Thanksgiving: Lord, God of all creation, how I praise your name. How I praise the name of your son, Jesus. Lord, thank you for allowing me to live in and be a part of YOUR LEGACY. Lord, help me to always look to You and never again, to myself. 

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