If you visit the grave of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of Billy Graham, at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, you will find an amazing epitaph on her tombstone. It simply says: “End of construction – Thank you for your patience.”
Most people give little or no thought to that inevitable day already scheduled for us on God’s calendar (Psalm 139:16). And most haven’t given much thought to the legacy they will leave behind.
William H. Mitchell was born in Georgia on October 21, 1900. He died November 14, 1917. He is buried in Maters Cemetery on Flakesmill Road in Decatur, Georgia. The words inscribed on his headstone will catch your attention:
“Remember friend as you pass by,
As you are now so once was I;
As I am now soon you shall be;
Prepare for death and follow me.”
One time someone wrote in chalk at the foot of his tombstone: “To follow you I’m not content, until I know which way you went.”
Dr. John MacArthur, phenomenally gifted Pastor of Grace Community Church in Panorama City, CA, terrific teacher and one of the most, if not the most, respected Bible scholars and expositors in the world, is the son of a pastor. His dad was Jack MacArthur. Jack died in the summer of 2005. I’ll never forget what John wrote about his dad and still have it in my files. Here’s what he said about his dad:
“Dad completed the work God gave him to do on earth on June 15. At about 5:00 p.m., he quietly took his last breath and instantly left his body to experience the joy of heaven and the face of his Lord Jesus. At age 91, his heart, which had been beating so long for the honor of Christ and the gospel, offered its last beat.
Dad spent seventy years making friends in heaven by faithfully preaching, teaching, and living the truth of God’s Word. He did it for decades as a pastor and Sunday school teacher. He did it through his ‘Voice of Calvary’ radio ministry, which has aired for more than sixty years. And he did it as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.”
What will our legacy be? It all depends on what we’re doing right now.
What a legacy!
History is full of examples of those whose legacy is forever marred and in some cases ruined. Judas, Benedict Arnold, O.J. Simpson, Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Darlie Routier, Casey Anthony, Bernie Madoff, Lance Armstrong, Bruce Jenner to name a few.
America’s leadership expert, John Maxwell, wrote these lines about a leader’s legacy: “When all is said and done, your ability as a leader will not be judged by what you achieved personally or even by what your team accomplished during your tenure. You will be judged by how well your people and your organization did after you were gone … Your lasting value will be measured by succession.” 1
What will our legacy be? It all depends on what we’re doing right now and what we will do tomorrow and the day after that …
This Sunday, we will celebrate the birthday of this amazing church family called Crossroads. I hope all of us today, and those who come after us will thank God for and follow the legacy of the people who founded this church 48 years ago on November 7, 1970. A legacy of faith and faithfulness, serving and sacrifice, giving generously and going the second mile, preaching and teaching God’s Word without apology so we could reach every single person we can with the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Two of our founders are still with us: Bob and Dottie Hughes.
What a legacy!
I hope you’ll join me in thanking God for them and asking God to help us be more like them as we carry on their legacy as a fellowship in the days ahead.
The best is yet to come!
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
1 The 21 Most Powerful Minutes In A Leader’s Day. John C. Maxwell. Nelson. 2000. Pg. 531
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.