One of the most famous speeches in all of history begins with, “I have a dream…” And that dream from Martin Luther King Jr. led the most prominent, powerful, and effective movement in American history. One man started it all. He planted the seed for millions to water. And even after his death, his dream became a reality. One of his most famous quotes was: “You can kill the dreamer but you can’t kill the dream.” The reason Dr. King’s dream left a legacy was because his dream went beyond himself. He was willing to sacrifice everything to ensure a better future for generations to come. Did you know that you have the same capability to leave that kind of legacy? You might not be in the spotlight, but your God-sized dream can impact your children, your children’s children, and beyond. And that can make an eternal difference on this earth and for the Kingdom of God. Are you ready to dream again?
One of the best instances of someone leaving a legacy from the Bible that I can think of is Moses. In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, it describes Moses’ journey with leading over 600,000 Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land. This was supposed to be a short-term journey, but it ended up being a long-term one because of the Israelites’ consistent disobedience to God. As a result, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses stayed obedient and listened to God throughout his lifetime. He interceded for the Israelites and led them even when he probably didn’t feel like it. He could have just left the Israelites and found the Promised Land on his own, but he chose to obey God and lead them. He knew that the Promised Land wasn’t about him. God’s promises are not about getting what we “deserve” for obeying God. It’s about trusting God even when we don’t know why we aren’t seeing his promises fulfilled right now. Are you obeying God just to receive His blessing? Or are you obeying Him because you want His purposes fulfilled?
This is a humbling question to ask of ourselves. I know I have to have this heart check regularly as a leader. I need to remember that God’s dreams for my life are not just for me. They are for those around me: my friends, my team, my coworkers, my family, and my future family. When you have a dream for yourself, make sure you ask yourself these questions:
- Why is this your dream (what is your motivation)?
- Who is this dream for (what is your legacy going to be)?
At the end of Moses’ life, he didn’t actually get to enter into the Promised Land. God allowed him to see it, but he didn’t get to live in it. The main reason was because he displayed an act of disobedience to God and didn’t trust Him (Deuteronomy 32:48-52). I remember reading this for the first time, and I thought: “Wow, that’s pretty crappy. Moses did all that work and didn’t even get to enjoy the destination.” But isn’t this such an earthly way to think? That it’s all about the destination and not the journey? All that work he did on earth…all the pain, frustration, weariness, and struggle he faced was ALL WORTH IT. Why? Because he was able to see thousands and eventually millions of his people enter into God’s Promised Land for them. You see, God’s dreams and purposes aren’t contingent on one person. Moses started it, but Joshua and Caleb continued it. And that, by definition, is leaving a legacy.
The book of Deuteronomy ends with this description of Moses:
“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” (34:10-12)
Even though Moses made mistakes, this is how he is remembered. The Lord knew him face to face. How amazing is that?! Not to mention all of the signs and wonders performed through him by the power of the Holy Spirit. But to me, the outward miracles do not even compare to the joy of knowing God that intimately. I don’t know about you, but I want that kind of legacy!
The bottom line is this: Don’t settle for what you think you can do or what you should do. This life is not about doing whatever makes you “happy.” This short-term life is about allowing God to fulfill His dreams and purposes on earth as it is in heaven – through you! What a joy and privilege it is to be co-laborers with Christ! Then at the end of this life, you will hear those loving words from God our Father, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
So I encourage you: DREAM BIG. And not only that, but allow God to use you to make an everlasting impact for eternity!