Dear Loved One,
There are some questions that tend to be directed only toward people who’ve reached a certain age. Now that I’m in my eighties I’ve found one of those questions is this: What would you like your legacy to be?
I’ve been on the receiving end of that inquiry a number of times lately, and it’s an amazing thing to be asked.
On one hand, it makes me wonder (light heartedly, of course) if I should move around a bit more to remind everyone I’m still alive and kicking! On the other hand (in all seriousness) I’m touched by the loving implication of the question.
It blesses me that anyone would suggest that when I depart this earth, I might leave something of worth behind that by God’s grace will add value to the lives of others after I’m gone. Certainly, that’s something I deeply desire to do, and I’m grateful people care enough to ask me about it.
But today I want to turn the tables a little. I want to ask you what people have been asking me.
What would you like your legacy to be?
If you haven’t lived as long as I have, you may not hear that question very much. People may assume you’re too young to be thinking about it. But that’s a mistaken assumption. The truth is we all need to be thinking about it all the time, because we’re not just called to leave a legacy in the latter years of our life or after we go to heaven—
We’re called to live a legacy every single day.
As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s our primary mission while we’re here on earth—to touch the lives of others with the love, light, and life of God that we ourselves have so freely received. Having been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, we’ve been commissioned by the Lord to move daily through this hurting world leaving a continual wake of His blessing wherever we go.
We can see a wonderful picture of how this is done in the third chapter of Acts. It tells about how Peter and John were going to the temple to pray one afternoon when they happened to notice a crippled man begging at the temple gate. His presence there was not unusual. He was there every day. So for Peter and John, walking past him was probably an ordinary occurrence.
But this time as the lame man lifted his eyes to them hoping for alms, the extraordinary happened. “[Peter] fixing his eyes on him…said, ‘Look at us’” (v. 4).
Notice that verse doesn’t say that Peter just glanced at the man. It says he fixed his eyes on him. In the Greek that phrase indicates he looked at the man anticipating the supernatural. He looked at him with the expectation that something was about to occur that transcends the human realm.
In other words, Peter suddenly saw him not just with natural sight, but also with spiritual sight. He saw the man’s need and realized that in Jesus’ name he had been called to meet it. So, expecting the supernatural, he reached out to him and said:
“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them; walking, leaping, and praising God. (vv. 6-8)
Oh, how I wish we had a photograph of that moment!
I’d love to see Peter’s strong hand reaching out and gripping the hand of the man who had never walked, lifting him to his feet for the first time in his life. That’s a snapshot of what we as disciples of Jesus are all about! We’re ordinary people enabled by God’s grace to do extraordinary things:
- To bring hurting humanity into an encounter with the love of God.
- To do something for them that’s beyond what we can do, and thus reveal to them the reality of Jesus as the resurrected Lord.
- To reach out to them in His name, not so we can have a miraculous experience, but so the life and light of the Lord can be manifested through us.
“But Pastor Jack,” you might say, “I’m not an apostle like Peter and John. I’m not a full time pastor or preacher. I’m simply a believer. What can I do?”
According to Jesus, you can do a lot! He said:
"These signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mk. 16:17-18)
"He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (Jn. 14:12)
Those verses don’t necessarily promise you’ll work spectacular miracles every day. They simply promise you’ll have the power to do in every situation what Jesus wants done. Sometimes that might mean giving someone a financial gift when only God knew they needed it. Or speaking a word of encouragement to someone at just the right time. Or giving a hug to person who’s hurting so they can experience their heavenly Father’s healing touch.
It’s astounding what the Lord can do with such seemingly ordinary yet loving acts of obedience.
I remember one time at a men’s retreat the Lord gave me a simple word for a pastor who was there. It didn’t seem like anything dramatic. But as I shared it, his eyes began to mist over. I put my arms around him to comfort him, and suddenly he began to sob.
After the sobbing subsided, he told what had happened. In that instant the Lord had delivered him from feelings of rejection that had bound him since childhood. The Holy Spirit had used my few brief words and my hug to heal his heart and make him whole.
I love moments like that, and I’m sure you do too. Nothing brings us more joy as believers than touching someone else with the redemptive grace and power the Lord has so generously poured out upon us. Most of us wish we could do it more often—and we can!
How? By making ourselves more available to the Holy Spirit. By expecting Him each day to do supernatural things through us as we reach out to other people in love.
That’s what Peter did at the temple gate. He expected God to do something through him that was beyond what he could do. He made himself available to the Holy Spirit, and instead of walking past the lame man as he’d done in the past, he reached out to him. He let God’s power flow through him and left that man walking, leaping, and praising God.
This is the legacy you and I are called to live! And I want to encourage you to step out into it more boldly than ever. That’s why, as a ministry, our team works daily to provide you the resources you’ll need to ignite in you a fresh fervor about your inheritance in Christ and give you increased revelation about how to live it out every day of your life.
It’s time for a “new thing!”
It humbles me each time I hear testimonies of how the Lord has used me through this ministry to encourage, strengthen and empower people. It’s even more humbling to know that friends like you have chosen to support our efforts. Clearly, whatever legacy I hope to leave is due to the support of many wonderful friends.
At the beginning of this year, I told you we sensed that God had exciting “new things” for us to do to minister to His people in these tumultuous days. That is why I would ask you to read this important letter from Michael Lynch, who is the Director of Jack Hayford Ministries and my trusted friend. I believe you will be as excited about the “new thing” he shares as I am!
Loved one, let’s seize every opportunity God gives us as His ambassadors.
Let’s say each morning, when we wake up, “Holy Spirit, come and work in me and today. Accomplish through me whatever You will by enabling me to see with spiritual sight, give beyond my natural resources, and touch others with the power that is beyond human reach.”
Whether we’re 18 or 80, that prayer will open the door to the most rewarding life we could ever live!
Yours in Christ Jesus,
P.S. Please take a moment to read this note from my good friend, Michael Lynch, Director of Jack Hayford Ministries. And be in prayer about your involvement with this “new thing” that he wants to share with you!