Your Past Is the Prologue to Your Future

It came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
–2 Kings 2:1

Lasting legacies are not built by spending countless hours scrolling through social media or in front of a television set. Lasting legacies aren’t built on successful careers or great fortunes. All of those things, 1 Corinthians 3:12 says, will be nothing more than wood, hay, and straw in the final judgment of God.

The Old Testament prophet Elijah shows us the right perspective for a lasting legacy. And the perspective is simply this: your past is the prologue to your future. If you want to know what kind of legacy you’re going to leave behind, look at where you’ve already traveled in life. Legacies don’t happen overnight. They’re the accumulation of many days, months, and years. If you want to know what people are going to remember about you, then look at your past.

In 2 Kings 2, we see how Elijah spent the final day of his life. Elijah knew his time of departure had come, so he took his protégé Elisha on a trip to several significant places in Elijah’s life where he had learned some important lessons. I think these places are representative of the things and places we need to leave behind as reminders about our own lives.

The first place Elijah took Elisha was Gilgal. It was the place of beginning. In 2 Kings 2:1, we learn, “It came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.” According to Joshua 4:19, Gilgal was the first place that the Israelites camped after they had crossed the Jordan River into the promised land. It was their first stop in the promised land. It was the place where they had their first Passover. It was the place where they ate for the first time the fruits of the promised land. So, it was the spiritual beginning of their new life in the promised land. Elijah wanted to go there to remind himself and Elisha, “There was a spiritual beginning in our nation, and here it is.”

I have my own Gilgal, my place of beginning, and it’s at the church I pastor. Sometimes on Friday afternoons, I’ll ask the security guard to let me into the old sanctuary. I’ll walk in there, sit in a pew, and think about my spiritual past. I’ll look at the balcony where I listened to sermons as a child, and I’ll look at the main aisle that I walked at age five trusting in Christ as my Savior. I’ll look at the baptistery and think about my baptism there. I’ll look at the altar and think about where I knelt there as the leaders of the church laid hands on me for my ordination. It is a place of spiritual beginning for me, and it’s good to remember that. Do you have such a place? Is there a place or a time you can point to and say, “This is where without a doubt I trusted in Christ as my Savior, and I can know for sure I am in heaven because of that”? We all need those Gilgals, those places of beginning.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Secret #7: Living with the End in Mind” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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