For he has died to us, the leader of nations who guarded the living,
he has died to us, who was our chief of the needy,
he has died to us, who was our messenger of the Lord...
- Dallán Forgaill, “Amra Choluimb Chille,” Irish, 6th century
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.
- Acts 9.39
I find this account of the raising of Dorcas to be very poignant. The image of those widows weeping – lonely women loved, cared for, and clothed by one whose primary claim to fame was her skill with a needle – is a testimony to the power of good works.
The same deep sense of loss fills Dallán Forgaill’s testimony of the impact of Colum Cille on the lives of those who knew him. Colum did many good works for others. His passing left a void in many lives, yet he left many people transformed to do good for others.
Doing good for others is an important aspect of the work of our Personal Mission Fields. It’s how we demonstrate the reality of Jesus, risen from the dead and living in and through us (cf. Titus 3.1, 8, 14).
Whether our good works are humble and on a small-scale, like Dorcas, or dramatic and far-flung, like those of Colum Cille, we each have abundant opportunities to touch others with the grace of God and to leave a legacy of love into the future. Every encounter with another person provides an opportunity to touch a life with the grace of Jesus Christ. A smile, an encouraging word, a helping hand, a compliment, a sincere word of appreciation – such good works, consistently performed, can leave a lasting sense of the love of Jesus.
Where good works are concerned, consistency and sincerity are more important than magnitude. And we can always improve in these two areas.
We have been saved in Jesus Christ for the sake of others, to minister His grace to them, to refresh them with the living water of Christ’s grace and Spirit (Eph. 2.8-10; Jn. 7.37-39). Salvation that ends only with us being grateful and at peace for being forgiven, but which never reaches out to others, has not yet begun to blossom as the Lord intends. Jesus saves us to move us toward others, that we may leave a legacy of love with those to whom He sends us each day.
We’re all sewing a legacy of one kind or another. How will we be remembered by the people we live and work with day by day? Will our passing from this world leave a void in their lives, or a sense of relief, or nothing at all? What kind of legacy are you putting together? What works of Jesus will others recall because you showed Him to them?
Today, what will you contribute to those whose lives and souls you encounter? Your Personal Mission Field consists of the places to which God sends you each day. Prepare each day to go out into your Personal Mission Field to sow good words and practice good deeds. Live a transformed life in Christ, and show His love to the people around you. Talk about Him, and urge others to consider His love. The more intentional we are about working our Pesonal Mission Fields, the more sincere and consistent we will be in showing the love of Christ to others.
We will not leave a legacy of love by mere chance; legacy-building is resolute, visionary, self-conscious work. And we are all called to it.
Like Dorcas, we sew our legacy deliberately, gradually, and with specific people in mind. And like Colum, we might leave our legacy of good works behind in the lives of others, to carry it on indefinitely.
We do not know what God intends to do with our works; we only know that we must do them, for love’s sake, in imitation of Jesus, toward a legacy of love for the generations.
Today, now, let it be your intention to sow true words and good works in your Personal Mission Field, and thus to sew a legacy of love of your life.
1. Paul says we must be “ready” for good works (Titus 3.1). How can you prepare each day to ensure that you will be ready when the opportunity arises?
2. If this were your last day on earth, what legacy would you leave for others?
Psalm 40.6-8 (Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Off’rings You do not require – open now my ears, O Lord.
What from me do You desire? Firm delight to do Your Word.
Take my life in ev’ry part; write Your Law upon my heart.
Lord, give me love for You and for my neighbor, so that I may…
Little gestures, big impact
Much of the Christian life is small stuff – like the garments Dorcas sewed for her friends. But the small stuff can abound with goodness and glory, if we’re prepared and paying attention. Our book Small Stuff can show you how to make a big impact for Christ in even the most ordinary, everyday aspects of your life. Order your copy by clicking here.
Personal Mission Field
You’ll be more likely to spread the love of Jesus throughout your Personal Mission Field if you have mapped out and are continuously aware of the people to whom God sends you each day. Watch this brief video, then download the Personal Mission Field worksheet, and begin building a legacy of love with the people God has put in your life.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Susie and I give thanks for you each day, for your friendship, support, and collaboration in this work. God supplies our needs as we look to Him day by day, and He may be pleased to do so, at least in part, through you. Please seek Him in prayer concerning this matter. You can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Clancy and Márkus, p. 105.