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by Phil Ware
For those of us in the high tech world, legacy is a dirty word. It means something old and antiquated. We use it to refer to computer components, old software, or databases that wont quite import into new formatting systems used by our SQL servers. One of the worst things an IT director can hear is, Oh no! You cant use that, its legacy!
Unfortunately, the rapid changes in the computer industry have led to a good word being polluted. In non-geek parlance, the word has a richer meaning:
In cornbread English, our legacy is what we leave behind when we die for those who follow us. That legacy can be good, or that legacy can be bad. It can be helpful, or it can be a stumbling block. While we spend a lifetime building up a legacy to leave behind, there is something powerful about the legacy we build in the final years of our lives. Part of the impact of our latter years legacy has to do with the number of people we touch. Our lives are built into the fabric of multiple generations of people both inside and outside our families. Another part of this latter years legacy has to do with the circumstances we have to face and overcome in dealing with our aging bodies and the challenging circumstances of growing older. Still yet another factor in our latter years legacy has to do with our attitude so many try to coast through the latter years of life rather than using these vital years to make some lasting impact.
On August 26, 2003, an interesting and special man passed away. By todays standards, he wasnt exceedingly old (71 years) when his body gave out because of cancer. I prayed hard for God to give him more years. That wasnt the Fathers will. One thing I appreciated about this brother in Christ was that he wasnt a coaster! He didnt resist the changes of our modern culture and he didnt hide from the opportunities these brought. In 1993, he launched one of the first church web sites on the Internet, long before the web went mainstream. He traveled the country over the last 10 years helping churches get acquainted with the opportunities to touch people via the World Wide Web most of these events he attended at his own expense or at a net loss financially. He wanted to get accurate Christian information to as many people as possible and he saw the web as a key way to do that. Even more, he saw the Internet as the great new evangelism frontier. He spent the last years of his life helping give a vision of what could be and should be if Gods people would open their eyes and see Gods future.
I knew this brother in Christ as Wes Duncan. I was saddened at his physical passing, but I rejoice that he left a legacy for us to follow as he journeyed home to be with Christ. However, Wes didnt leave just an Internet legacy. Wes left us a life legacy. He reminded us that while we may have to grow old in body, we dont have to grow old in vision, hope, vibrancy, and passion. Wes taught us not to fear the changes of new technology, but to pray for Gods wisdom and to plan by Gods power to use them to advance the work of Gods Kingdom.
Theres a line in an old beauty commercial that said, Youre not getting older; youre getting better. For all of us who are Christians, it isnt a line; it is our legacy!
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and wont last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we dont look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT)
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: September 8, 2003
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