Kingdom Values (7)
Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons,
Whom You shall make princes in all the earth.
I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever. Psalm 45.16, 17
Good today, good tomorrow
We’re considering the values that should lodge in our conscience, to strengthen it for guarding and directing our mind and heart, as we follow Jesus in the normal course of our daily lives. A good conscience has the right values in place as default priorities in every decision, choice, or action. We’ve examined five values that I think are most conducive to directing our thoughts and shaping our affections in ways most likely to promote a Kingdom lifestyle: calling (to God’s Kingdom and glory, and to our own Personal Mission Field), seeking (the Kingdom and righteousness of God), renewal (daily increase in Kingdom living), holiness (becoming more like Jesus), and mission (living as witnesses and ambassadors of the Kingdom).
To these I’d like to add one more: legacy. As our forebears in Christ, faithful in their generations, have left the Gospel and many blessings for us to enjoy, so it should be important to us, a matter of the highest priority, to leave something behind for others, to help them on their journey into the Kingdom and glory of God.
As the Kingdom of God comes to fruition in and through our lives, we can expect to touch the lives of others with many good things. We will help people learn, encourage them in the use of their own gifts, show them how to work their Personal Mission Field, inspire them by our example of service and love, impart vision and skills to assist them in their own callings and ministries, and many things besides. If doing such things now is a good thing, wouldn’t finding some way for this to continue after we’re gone be a good thing as well?
But how do we do that?
Faithful, teachable, able
Paul explains in 2 Timothy 2.2, elaborating on an idea expressed in our text for today. The sons of Korah, who wrote Psalm 45, envisioned a day when the current leaders of Israel would be replaced by their sons, to extend the Kingdom of God beyond where their fathers had ever been able to take it. Paul, following our Lord’s mandate in the Great Commission (Matt. 28.18-20), instructed Timothy to a similar kind of vision, and through Timothy he instructs us as well. If we can invest in a few people, so that they embrace the Kingdom values we’ve been discussing in this study – embrace them so soundly and fruitfully that they pass them on to others – then those folks may be the ones to keep our Kingdom contribution going long after we have finally entered the eternal Kingdom and glory of the Lord.
Paul encouraged Timothy to embrace a legacy vision reaching to the second generation beyond himself. He should teach men who would be able to teach others also. So, in teaching people about the Kingdom of God, Timothy would also have to give them, not only the values and skills for Kingdom living, but also a vision and the incentives and skills necessary to impart that lifestyle to others, as well as any disciplines, tools, and other resources he might be able to provide.
If we value leaving a legacy of Kingdom calling, seeking, renewal, holiness, and mission, then we too will make it a priority in our lives to search out others to whom we can impart these values and the way of life that goes with them. This must be a lifelong commitment. As J. I. Packer wrote in his book, Finishing Our Course with Joy, no matter how old we get, there’s always something we can learn and always someone we can lead. And that means we can work to leave a Kingdom legacy for as long as we continue in this life.
In his instructions to Timothy, Paul counsels us to look for a particular type of people: faithful people – people who have demonstrated a real desire to know the Lord, follow Him, and serve Him with their lives. Look for people who are hungry for God’s Word, eager to pray, committed to Christ and His Church, and willing to embrace the Kingdom values that can bring such peace, joy, and fruitfulness to their lives. People who make excuses, are habitually “too busy,” or don’t follow through on things they’ve promised or agreed to do – such people may be sincere Christians, but they’re not the kind of faithful people who will allow you to leave a legacy of Kingdom living to the second generation beyond yourself.
Next, teach these people. Spend time with them. Study the Word, read good books, take up projects and activities together, become prayer partners and soul friends, encourage one another in working your Personal Mission Field, and work hard to stimulate one another to love and good works (Heb. 10.24). Gaining a Kingdom vision and embracing Kingdom values and a Kingdom way of life doesn’t just happen. Don’t wait for your church to do something, take charge yourself. Look for resources that emphasize the priority and values of the Kingdom of God, and work through them together with the faithful people you’re equipping as part of your legacy.
Put them to work
Then, finally, give the faithful people you are teaching opportunities to train others as well. Bring them into your disciple-making efforts and let them share in teaching and leadership roles. Encourage them to take the things you’ve taught them or the tools and resources you have provided and to begin looking for faithful people of their own. Give them a vision for instilling Kingdom values in the people in their Personal Mission Fields, and be available to encourage and assist them in as many ways as you can.
As we journey deeper into the Kingdom to which God is calling us, seeking Him and His glory, working for renewal, bringing holiness to completion, and striving to bring others into the Kingdom of God’s love, let’s leave some markers along the way, to guide and encourage those who will come after us. Take as a value in your conscience, making disciples of faithful people who will teach others also, and you’ll be able to say truly and confidently with the sons of Korah, “I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.”
1. Meditate on Matthew 28.18-20 and 2 Timothy 2.2. Why is it important, when we’re thinking about a legacy, to think in terms of people and their Kingdom-and-glory callings?
2. What opportunities are available to you through your church to help others grow in the Lord?
3. How can you make leaving a legacy a more permanent value in your conscience?
Next steps - Transformation: Where would you start to begin fulfilling the challenge of 2 Timothy 2.2? Whom can you approach to join you in this legacy-building work?
T. M. Moore
All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.