Many of us love to be missed after we have gone away for a while. Some of us even wish to see others suffer or certain things fall apart when we leave to prove our importance. Great people, though, hate to be missed. Their greatest joy is to see people they love and the great work they have started continue to florish in their absence.
It has been said success without succession is failure. Empowering others to do more than oneself is a true mark of greatness. Great leaders are generously secure. They’re not threatened by the success of their students. In truth, it’s their pleasurable duty to see others see further, go higher and achieve more than themselves. They love to leave behind work that continues to grow from good to great long after they’re gone.
Jesus is a classic example of such great men. Unlike many great visions that die with their visionaries Jesus’ Church continues to grow from strength to strength thousands of years after His death. This did not happen by default.
Jesus’ main task was to mentor these leaders that will perpetuate his vision, achieve more and reach even greater heights than Himself. He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12).
Prior to embarking on a public ministry Jesus picked these twelve individuals that He mentored for 31/2 years. As He picked the fishermen He told them, “follow me and I will train you how to raise (be fishers of) great men” Matt 4:19.
In His lifetime Jesus recorded some outstanding achievements. He raised the dead, He healed incurable illnesses and He even performed incredible economic miracles. But none of these seemed to matter to Jesus that much. No wonder He didn’t mention any of these achievements before His Father. Instead, Jesus was quick to express His pleasure of having accomplished the assignment to the finest detail – to raise and protect the group of 12 people put under Him by His Father. To Jesus, a healthy level of prosperity and maturity of the disciples was His greatest legacy (John 17:1-19)
Like any responsible parent God’s ultimate purpose is in seeing us His children mature and parent our own kind. This, I must add, is more than leaving our biological DNA. It is leaving behind a worthy value footprint in their lives. The worthy inheritance we leave on this earth must not be in a form notoriety, or in material possessions but in value we add in people’s lives.
In biblical terms the value added on lives is called agape love. God expects us to leave lives a lot better than we found it.
Agape is a divine currency. In heaven the only value that is acceptable is agape love. Transformed lives is what matters in heaven more than anything else (Luke 15:7). On the judgement day God will never ask us how many degrees did we earn, how high did we climb in the organisational ladder or how much possession did we accumulate. What God will be interested to know is how much value did we add into the lives He put under our care ( Matt. 7:21-13;1 Cor. 3:10-15).
It was Isaac Newton that said , ” If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Let us build broad shoulders and lend them to future generations to see further than we have. Let each of us aspire for a legacy of the leaders that we raise, of the heroes that we forge and of the survivors that we support. Let us thrive to leave behind a people that will consequently embody the values we want to see many years after we’re gone.