“You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.” 1 Kings 8:25
Who will build on the legacy that we leave once we are gone? I think this is probably a thought that most of us don’t to give much thought to. For many of us we live for the moment and only consider what impacts out immediate world. If we look at many of the family’s, businesses and religious ministries in our communities we would have to agree that in many ways we are shortsighted in our leadership. We plan for the immediate and strive to build healthy families and organization but what is the legacy that will be left behind and who will carry it on. Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting several leaders that led with passion and authority and did good works in leading their families and organizations. I consider however what was left behind once they left the organization or passed on from this life. I have often heard people say we are only responsible for the time when we are in the lead. Though this is true I think we all need to move beyond living for the moment and consider that maybe we need to live for the moment but plan and have a vision for the future of our families and the organizations that we may work in.
In times like these I have learned to look at the bible much like how I would use a compass or GPS to guide me in my path. As I look at the scriptures I am reminded that faithfulness and obedience to God is important as is understanding the promise of God and how that can have an influence on our families and areas of leadership. (1 Sam12:24, 2 Chron. 19:9) The apostle Paul left a successor and legacy in the life of Timothy. Paul referring to Timothy as not just a co-worker in the work of the gospel but a son in many of his writings. On many occasions, we compartmentalize this to be only in ministry of in a professional setting. Maybe Paul was reinforcing the importance of relationship in family and organizational leadership in its entirety. Authentic relationship fostered by the desire to see someone grow, thrive and succeed in life. In many ways, I don’t think Timothy led just like Paul did but I do believe that he followed Paul’s example and obeyed God as he felt he should. Timothy was his own person having his own strengths and abilities in service.
In closing, whether in a family or organizational setting can we start to put pride and personal self-interest aside and invest in those that are around us. Fostering a life of authentic relationship, spending time together with a desire to see the best come out of the person we are spending time with. As leaders, all our time will fade away, our professional world with fade away, our families will move on in their live but our legacy will be seen in the relationships we have built and left behind. Our legacy will be lived out in our communities when people follow our example and help build relationships and communities.