As a friend recently described a special envelope she had typically kept in her Bible for safekeeping; in this envelope was a list of significant events in her life, events that served as milestones in her family over a span of several decades. In hearing her describe the joy she experienced upon discovering the list after having misplaced it for a period of time, it struck me that that list was a part of a permanent, even eternal legacy. She will give that paper to her children as a record of momentous spiritual events in the life of her family. Those events have eternal value.
Conversely, some things may contribute to our legacy but may not be a permanent part of it. Just as we buy different kinds of clothing for different seasons, and we accumulate various types of supplies for particular chapters in our lives (baby bottles, children’s books, snow suits or sleds, pool toys, cameras, typewriters, computers, bread machines, even sound equipment that subsequently becomes dated), some items outlive their usefulness. At intervals, we are compelled to sort through our “stuff” and give away or throw away things we no longer need (but to which we may have become attached). This process is not always as simple as it sounds, as nostalgia can easily overwhelm us!
The challenge is to discern what is part of the permanent, eternal legacy of our lives and what might be temporarily vital but not carry lasting value. With Aglow, we also face new seasons: we distill what is and will always be part of who we are as a ministry, but we must lay aside the strategies that may have been pivotal in the past, but which no longer are proving useful or relevant in our current culture. When God has used certain things to minister deeply to us, it can be very challenging to release those activities and approaches. (Just yesterday evening, I was looking through a photo album and was overwhelmed with nostalgia at the sight of photos of our eldest two children when they were small; even their clothing was very dear to me, as it was passed down to their younger siblings yet ultimately given away or thrown away. I remember how difficult it was to part with those clothes, as they symbolized the end of an era! As a result, it was a bittersweet experience to gaze on those photos and wonder how those years had evaporated so quickly!)
The temporary things may CONTRIBUTE to the legacy, but they are NOT the legacy. Jesus is our inheritance! I am so grateful! These days, I am continually asking God what has eternal value and what is merely temporary — what has outlived its season of usefulness — so I can focus on the eternal things. Often, despite my earnest desire to move forward with Him, I find it challenging to welcome new seasons that, at least at first glance, seem unfamiliar and even frightening. May the Holy Spirit empower me afresh to embrace the next part of my journey with confidence in His goodness and in the knowledge that He can be trusted to retain those aspects of the past that have eternal value! Yes, we can agree with the Psalmist that we have a beautiful, eternal inheritance: “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance, my cup [He is all I need]; You support my lot. The [boundary] lines [of the land] have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” (AMP: Psalm 16: 5-6)
I love this song by Amy Grant called “Heirlooms.” Jesus is more than an heirloom to you and to me. We can praise Him forever for that!