It is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
–1 Corinthians 4:2 ESV
People who leave a significant legacy embrace the right perspective, which is taking the long view of life. They realize that legacies are built over the long term. That’s why it is good every now and then to look back at where you have been in life to see where you are going. Elijah did that on the final day of his life. He took his protégé Elisha around with him and pointed out key places in his past where God had taught him important lessons.
Second, people who leave a legacy that lasts embrace the right principle for living, which is this: God measures significance by faithfulness, not by success. In 1 Corinthians 4:2, Paul said, “It is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (ESV). God is looking for faithfulness.
To understand what faithfulness is, let’s contrast it to success. Today when we talk about success, we think about people who are overnight successes. We talk about people whose exploits are blasted over television, magazines, and social media. We think a person who is successful has instantaneous results, and everybody sees them. By that measure, Elijah was a failure. Elijah certainly was no overnight sensation; he spent years in hiding before people even knew who he was. As far as visible results? Yes, he had that episode on Mount Carmel–the battle against the prophets of Baal–and for a few moments he enjoyed success. It looked like there was going to be a great national revival as a result of his efforts. But then most of the Israelites turned back to worshipping Baal, and within a few generations after Elijah died, Israel was overrun by the Assyrians and taken captive because of their ungodliness. So by worldly standards, Elijah wasn’t a success. But in God’s eyes, he was significant because he was faithful.
Faithfulness means consistently following God’s calling for your life and leaving the results to Him. Here is what faithfulness looks like in everyday life: A faithful worker continues to give his best efforts on the job even when the boss shows little appreciation for his efforts. A faithful husband or wife continues to love his or her mate even when that love is not returned. A faithful parent continues to pray for his rebellious child even when that child’s heart hardens toward the parent and God. A faithful pastor continues to diligently preach the word of God in a church with declining attendance and critical leaders. By that measure, Elijah was faithful. Faithfulness is moving forward in God’s plan for your life in spite of the headwinds of opposition or little visible results.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Leaving a Legacy That Lasts” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture quotation marked ESV is taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.