Leaving a Legacy

  • September 2011 Issue
Today with Paul Nyquist

Over the years, I’ve had many titles, but this year I received a brand new one: grandpa. As new grandparents, Cheryl and I have considered again the spiritual legacy we hope, by God’s grace, to leave to our children and their children. We have asked ourselves: Are our schedules, decisions, and values helping us build this kind of God–honoring legacy?

Friends, the lies of this world are cunning and loud. And for Cheryl and me, it continues to be important to remind ourselves of the single most important goal at hand: to love the Lord and to allow Him to make us more like Him by being obedient to His Word. As parents and followers of Christ, this is critical to building the legacy we hope to leave behind.

The books of 1 and 2 Samuel chronicle the lives of two kings—Saul and David—who left very different kinds of spiritual legacies. What distinguished David’s legacy from Saul’s legacy? Obedience. I believe that while David was a man after God’s own heart, Saul was a man after his own heart.

Throughout King Saul’s reign, he did not seek to do everything that God commanded him to do; he just sought to do most of what God commanded him to do. When Samuel gave Saul a very clear directive to destroy the Amalekites, Saul obeyed . . . mostly. Saul had all of the people killed, except the king, and he destroyed all of the animals, except the very choice ones (1 Samuel 15).

Saul was satisfied with doing just some of what God required. But friends, this is not what God wants from us as His children. Because of Saul’s lack of obedience and repentance, he died a humiliating death. His disobedience cost him much more than this—it also cost him his kingdom (1 Sam. 13:13–14).

The reign of King David is a great juxtaposition to King Saul’s reign. David was so righteous that all of the kings who followed after him in Judah were compared to him. With God’s blessing, David built and established the most powerful kingdom on the earth at that time. In fact, there is no other name mentioned more in the pages of Scripture than David. His legacy is undeniable. Of course, David was not perfect. But he stands in stark contrast to King Saul because of his repentant response to his sins (2 Sam. 24:10).

Like David and Saul, our legacies will be the product of the choices we make day by day to obey or disobey the Lord, to repent or justify our sins. And the longer I live, the more and more I realize just how little time we each have on this earth. James 4:14 puts it this way, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Let me encourage you, with God’s help, to begin today investing in the legacy you hope to leave behind. Don’t wait. Like King David, may our lives and our legacies please our God and our Redeemer.

BY Dr. Paul Nyquist, President of Moody Bible Institute

Dr. Paul Nyquist is the ninth president of Moody Bible Institute and featured speaker on Moody Radio’s program “Moody Presents.” With his theological training, pastoral heart and global focus, Nyquist is leading Moody to go across the globe, cultures and generations to equip people with the truth of God’s Word, using new technology, in an agile and innovative community. He and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for 30 years, have four grown children, and are proud grandparents of three grandchildren.

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