Sacrifice or legacy?
“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flowers of the field. The grass withers, the flowers fall..." Isaiah 40. 6-7
I'm reading a book called 'Legacy'. It's about the formula for success behind what is presented as the most successful winning machine of all time: the New Zealand All Blacks. As the title suggests, it focuses on developing talent and exploiting opportunities in order to leave behind an indelible impression of excellence.
From a secular perspective it's compelling stuff. But the extract above from Isaiah exposes the vanity at the heart of this approach to life. If history teaches us anything it is that today's heroes are quickly superseded. But don't despair, I'm not advocating gloomy fatalism! There is a better alternative...
The apostle Paul affirms: "You are not your own; you were bought at a price..." (1 Corinthians 6. 19-20). He is referring to how Jesus regarded each one of us so highly as to take our guilt upon his own shoulders and die in our place so that we might live forever. Putting our trust in Jesus is the sure route to immortality, rather than the illusion offered by secular gurus.
Yesterday we celebrated VJ Day, as we remembered the sacrifice of the "forgotten army" who fought on to secure victory in the East after the War had ended in Europe. We were exhorted to "live out" our gratitude, in the spirit of the Kohima Epitaph:
"When you go home all them of us and say:
For your tomorrow, we gave our today."
Here is where the sacred and the secular meet: a legacy that counts is not one that advances the self but one that humbly acknowledges that our significance derives from the sacrifice of others for our sakes.