"Living Legacy" - Luke 24:13-32
So, apparently I am pretty much a big crybaby - at least that’s the case when I watched a recent MetLife commercial entitled “My Dad’s Story: Dream for My Child.” In the commercial, a dad and his daughter are walking in the park when she hands him a note to read. In it, the father reads what his daughter thinks of her Daddy. He’s sweet, handsome, the smartest, most clever, and kindest person. But this superman has a flaw – lying. He lies about having a job, money, and that he’s not tired or hungry. He lies and sacrifices because of her - so she can have a better life. Watch the commercial if you have the time and tissue at the ready.
Maybe I was so moved by this commercial because of the willing sacrifices my wife and I make for our son. He might not ever know everything that we do for him, and I’m actually okay with that. It seems that no matter how much stress I have, how truly tired I am, or whatever other burden I might bear at the time, it all seems to disappear when I’m with my son. I am happy to do it for him. I know my wife feels the same.
This wasn’t always the case though. My wife and I have been married for nearly eight years and dated for five years before that. We’ve had time to get to know, love, and care for one another. I was excited when my son came into our lives two years ago. But, I knew things would change. No longer were we going to get to sleep in on our days off. We could no longer go see a movie, go out to eat, or go out of town at a moment's notice. We were living our lives for ourselves. I admit we were a little selfish at times. But, we could be. So, what changed? NEW LIFE!
In my wife’s studies in clinical and mental health, she came across the generativity stage of psychological development. According to Erik Erikson (I know...what were his parent thinking, right?), generativity is a struggle against stagnation that ascends during adulthood. Generativity, in the psychosocial sense, refers to the concern for establishing and guiding the next generation and is said to stem from a sense of optimism about humanity. Another way of thinking about this is embracing the Boy Scout motto of leaving things better than you found them. We truly do live in a very broken and scary world today. This makes me wonder how I can make this world better place for the next generation, especially my son. What kind of legacy am I going to leave?
In Luke 24:13-32 (often referred to as the Walk to Emmaus), Jesus encounters his legacy. These two followers of Jesus knew what he had taught and what had happened, but still found it hard to believe. Jesus came so that all of humanity might have life, and have it abundantly. Jesus changed the world forever more. Through his life, death, and resurrection, new life and new hope is possible.
This made me think of others that have come before us who sacrificed in order to give us hope for a better life. In the United States of America, many people think of President Abraham Lincoln who contributed to the abolition of slavery, and Martin Luther King, Jr. who contributed to civil rights. I also think about countless others that never made their way into history books, but endured hardship and persecution for the possibility of a better and brighter future. They have left behind a very important legacy.
Now, it’s your turn! Live into the New and Abundant Life that Jesus has made possible. For whom are you living your life and making sacrifices? How are you using your life to be the change you wish to see in the world? What kind of legacy are you living into and leaving behind for your children, grandchildren, and future generations? Your life can and will make a world of difference.