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by Phil Ware

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    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 won’t 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 can’t use that, it’s 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:

1 : a gift by will especially of money or other personal property
2 : something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past
From Merriam-Webster Online

    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 today’s standards, he wasn’t exceedingly old (71 years) when his body gave out because of cancer. I prayed hard for God to give him more years. That wasn’t the Father’s will. One thing I appreciated about this brother in Christ was that he wasn’t a coaster! He didn’t resist the changes of our modern culture and he didn’t 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 God’s people would open their eyes and see God’s future.

His goal was to be useful to the King and a blessing to his Kingdom.
    Interestingly, when you looked at him personally, there was nothing that suggested “cutting edge.” He dressed modestly. He wasn’t flashy. He didn’t try to pull off a high tech, really “with it” persona. He wasn’t trying to be chic. His goal was to be useful to the King and a blessing to his Kingdom.

    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 didn’t 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 don’t 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 God’s wisdom and to plan by God’s power to use them to advance the work of God’s Kingdom.

    There’s a line in an old beauty commercial that said, “You’re not getting older; you’re getting better.” For all of us who are Christians, it isn’t 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 won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t 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)

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      Title: "Legacy"
      Author: Phil Ware
      Publication Date: September 8, 2003

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Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. For the past 10+ years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.


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