Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Download MP3 (right click to save)
The Kentucky Derby always has its share of drama. The 2006 Kentucky Derby was a blowout. A horse named Barbaro took the lead in America's most famous race and left every other horse in the dust. Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby by an astounding 6 ½ lengths! Many thought that horse could go on to be one of the few who has ever won the Triple Crown. Well, sadly, an injury ended that dream. But it didn't take away the glory of Barbaro's dramatic Kentucky Derby victory.
The horse was only part of the story that day. In some ways, the bigger story was that of Barbaro's trainer, Michael Matz. Eighteen years earlier, Michael Matz had been a passenger on an airplane flight that crashed in an Iowa cornfield. During the flight, he had struck up conversations with three young children who were traveling that day without their parents. Then came the crash. Many died that day as the plane caught fire. Survivors were struggling to find a way out of that burning wreckage, but all Michael Matz could think about was those three children. He risked his life to find all of them and bring them out alive. And on that day, when the horse Michael trained crossed that finish line, there was jubilant celebrating in the box where he was watching. Michael Matz, his wife, and the three (now grownup) children whose lives he had saved eighteen years before. Wow!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Legacy of Your Life."
In our word for today from the Word of God, Paul is thinking ahead to the day when his race will be over; when he'll be in heaven celebrating the lasting legacy of his life. In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, speaking to people he had introduced to Jesus Christ, Paul says: "What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy."
Crossing the finish line to heaven—celebrating being there. First with Jesus, whose death and resurrection got you there, and then, with all those who are there (at least in part) because you helped to rescue them. You did what your Bible said to do: "Snatch others from the fire and save them" (Jude 23). You weren't content to just get you out of that burning wreckage of sin. No, you had to help those around you make it, too. That's going to make heaven even sweeter. Or is it?
As you look at the legacy of your life so far, do you see many people you've pointed to Jesus? Can you see some folks who will be in heaven because you were part of helping them go there? How many people understand what Jesus did on the cross for them because you explained it to them? Have you been to some funerals, and looked into the casket and asked yourself, "Why didn't I tell them about Jesus while there was still time?"
You can't have any of those days back. But you do have whatever days God still has ahead for you. And you can decide what kind of difference you want to make with the rest of your life. I hope it's to help as many people be in heaven with you as possible; to give as many people a chance at being rescued by Jesus as you can. Much of what we do and accomplish here won't mean anything, even one moment after our last breath. But there's one thing you can do that will last forever, and that is to help someone else live forever by showing them Jesus.
The prophet Daniel described that day when "multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." Every person you know is headed for one of those two destinations.
Then he describes ultimate legacy: "Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:2-3). Why? Because they'll be celebrating forever with people whose lives they rescued.