There will likely come a point for all of us that we reflect on what we’ve done with our lives. We will question our impact to evaluate our legacy. We’ll be interested more in influence than promotion and sharing than accumulation. We’ll look to see if what we had in time and talents was spent in such a way that it will last beyond our days.
To get to a place of satisfaction, we’ll have to lose control. We won’t release everything we have to multiply in others if we are in need of control. Giving it away is without the conditions of demands regarding how it is received, used and multiplied.
The only way for anything to operate virally and organically is by releasing it. We can’t systematize, categorize and institutionalize life. Life has to live and breathe in a way that it can and will be desired more than it is forced and shared freely without restraint.
For Christ followers, this has huge implications. We are called to make disciples and most are not adverse to the call, yet don’t know how. We want to develop a 501(c)3 ministry or some program we can lead but disciple making is simply giving away life. It’s taking what Jesus has given you and giving it to someone else who while trusting that they will want to give it away, too.
The trap is in thinking too big too soon. The Kingdom is a mustard seed and that mustard seed is one little life after another. Those lives, our lives, nurtured and grown will turn into something bigger. Trying to get that mustard seed of a life full of time and taken to produce a tree from the time it is still a seed with no process of maturity and growth is foolish and pointless. Yet, we often seek to live beyond ourselves in that very way.
When we think about significance and impact, we think about leading organizations or preaching sermons or making some big splash. None of those things reproduce the gifts that God has given us to steward; only living with others in a generous, graceful way that gives without demanding will foster multiplication.
Stories of impact are usually stories of relationship. Relationship is messy, with ups and downs and disappointments and challenges. Living a life that is significant and meaningful is done by engaging in the lives of others selflessly and without credit or recognition. It’s those stories that will affirm our efforts to frustrate the finite and extend the temporal.