We use the word “legacy” to describe something left behind. It may be a house or sum of money, perhaps a lasting imprint on an organization or the lives of those closest to you. Regardless of kind or number, everyone leaves a legacy. The question is, “what will it be?”
The apostle Paul wrote of the Thessalonian Christians’ legacy in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4. When Paul thought of them, he remembered three characteristics.
- Your work of faith. A biblical faith is a working faith and such was certainly found in the church at Thessalonica. Ephesians 2:10 explains that Christians are “created in Christ Jesus for good works,” and our work in the kingdom of God is produced by our faith. A faith which works by love (Gal. 5:6) is one that serves and produces good fruit (Luke 6:43- 45). Are you known as a hard worker in the Kingdom?
- Your labor of love. The term “labor” refers to difficult, strenuous, and exhausting effort. Sometimes it is said that a person works their fingers to the bone. Such sentiments accurately capture the thought. Love must be the motivating force behind everything (1 Cor. 13:1-3) but true love is not seen in what we say but rather, what we do (1 John 3:18). When we love as we should, labor is no problem. Are you known as a laborer of love?
- Your patience of hope. Acts 17 records a great deal of pressure placed upon the church at Thessalonica after Paul’s abrupt departure. He was concerned for them (1 Thess. 3:1-5) but was overjoyed to learn of their steadfastness (1 Thess. 3:6-10). The source of the patient endurance of trial was their hope. Our hope is what keeps us anchored (Heb. 6) and it will not leave us ashamed (Rom. 5:3-5). Are you known as one who patiently endures or anxiously panics at the appearance of trouble?
When your life is over, your friends and loved ones will gather to memorialize you. What will they say about you? How will you be remembered? What legacy will you leave?