I’d like to think that we all have some sort of vision of ourselves. Whether it is good or bad, we know who we are. We also have a vision of who we want to be; what we want the rest of our lives to look like.
I am a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and I am living my dream. In seventh grade I decided that I wanted to be a Tar Heel while becoming a pharmacist in the process. Solid dream, right? Wrong.
Granted, its great to have dreams and ambitions, but placing your identity in them is where most of us go wrong.
You also have dreams, I’m sure. Graduating college, marrying the love of your life, making lots of money, or even better: living the “American dream.” Whatever your dreams may be, I want to ask you this:
When your time is up and your work is done, what will your dash look like?
Don’t worry; I am going to tell you exactly what I mean.
Recently, I was at a YoungLife leader conference, and a mentor of mine spoke about his mother’s recent passing. He told some awesome stories about who she was, and what everyone thought of her. He then referred to the legacy she left as her “dash.” Following his story he asked us this question, “What will your dash look like?” The dash he was referring to was the one between your birth and death date.
What a question. My world was changed immediately. I started thinking about all of my dreams that I had been pursuing, everything that I thought defined who I was. And there was my problem: there was a whole lot of “I” in those thoughts and nothing about servitude to Christ, or anyone else.
I came to realize that my “dash” would impact no one but myself, and what kind of impact is that?
My legacy was my accomplishments and myself.
I started thinking of Christ, and how He had the greatest legacy of any human being to ever walk the earth. Jesus had the most epic “dash” ever, and what’s even better is that His dash has continued to impact generation after generation.
He came to serve others, to show what true love is, and to give us all a vision of how we should live. You see, Jesus didn’t have dreams; He had vision. He saw people, circumstances, and life in an extremely different way. More importantly, He saw you, your circumstances, and your life. While He was the Son of God it would have been easy for Him to see just Himself. He could have come into the world to show everyone that He was just an “awesome dude” by worldly standards, but instead, He came to show love, sacrifice, and that He was awesome by heavenly standards.
The best part of that story is that Jesus came to die for us – you and I. His love was shown through actions, not solely words.
“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8
And when He gave himself for you and me, He ended it all by saying “It is finished.”
That statement is the legacy of Christ in three words. He took a beating, died, and rose again, leaving a legacy of compassion, love, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
I think we would all love to be the person that “cured cancer,” or invented a life-changing mechanism. We would all love to be recognized by generations because of something awesome that we did on earth, but what happens when it’s all over and none of that stuff matters anymore? All the research, money, and time given to curing cancer, or whatever you did, was for nothing.
Imagine this for one moment: you commit your life to serving Christ. You then spread the word and maybe one more person commits their life. That person then spreads the word and five more people commit. You don’t need me to finish, because you know what the domino effect is.
When we commit our lives to serving those around us, instead of ourselves we instantly leave a mark, an impression. People see who we are, and they wonder why. When we continue being intentional and sacrificial towards others, they begin to long for something that awesome.
So, what would your “dash” look like if you died today? Would it resemble the legacy of Christ?
And for clarification, to leave an incredible legacy doesn’t always mean you have to become famous, or well-known by the world, because wouldn’t that just mean the glory was pointed to you instead of the One that deserves it? Remember, God did not create you so that you could be happy and comfortable in this life. He created you so that His name would be glorified.
Food for thought my friends.
So I’ll ask you one last time, what will your dash look like?