Last words are a remarkable thing.
When we think of “last words,” we typically think of someone who is dying don’t we? Someone who has come to the end of his/her rope.
There are some of you out there who always have to have the “last word” in an argument or discussion. Do you know anyone like that? Lol
Spouses, stop thinking about each other. See, even in thinking, you’re trying to get the last word in.
When we think about “last words,” we have to believe that a person’s last words would perhaps be a reflection of that person’s heart, mind, and feelings before leaving this earth or even leaving the house for the grocery store or to work. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, much less this afternoon. Last words carry an enormous amount of weight.
Example: What’s the last thing you say to your spouse or loved one before you hang-up the phone?
Example: What’s the last thing you say to your children before they go to school?
Example: What’s the last thing you say to someone going on a job interview?
Encouragement, love, compassion, hope are powerful last words. They empower people to keep going, to not give up, and to stay hopeful; especially in times of turmoil and tragedy.
“Last words” are also used to pass on a legacy.
In the wills/trust business we saw it all the time. The will/trust contained an individual’s last wishes and…last words. This document contained the very last things the person wanted to say to his/her family and friends. If you don’t get the weight of that, just think of what you’d say if you had just five minutes to give your family/friends your “last words.”
The will/trust is read, last words spoken, and legacies either end and new ones begin, or the legacy is extended.
We always encouraged people to give their inheritance before they died so they could watch their children and grandchildren enjoy the blessings of what is given during their lifetime. On the other hand, there is a chance the legacy would be squandered.
We see a similar happening in the Bible; in the book of 2 Timothy.
A man on “death row,” an old and seasoned saint, decides to pass on a letter of encouragement to a young man who will carry the legacy of Christ to others. His course was coming to an end and he was intelligent enough to recognize it, brave enough to accept it, and self-less enough to do what he did next.
The Apostle Paul was in prison in Rome. He knew his execution would be soon. Residing in a prison, he could have chosen to remain in his miserable conditions with self-loathing and self-pity (“poor me”). But instead, Paul intelligently sees his end is near, bravely accepts it, and takes the time to invest in a legacy that would last for, as of today, 1,900 years and forevermore.
In his letter to, as Paul calls him, his “son,” he pens his last words to a young pastor named Timothy. Timothy is on-edge as persecution is growing more and more intense. He is young, much younger than most of those in the church he is leading. Paul, the headliner, is no longer running the show (so to speak) because he’s in prison and Timothy is…well…Timothy can be Paul’s legacy, a Christ-like legacy that would infect millions of people throughout history for the glory of God’s kingdom.
Paul knows the struggles Timothy is experiencing. Paul knows what it’s like to doubt. Paul knows what it’s like to be young and vigorous, yet unstable and afraid. Paul knows that Timothy must be his legacy. And so Paul, a man ready to die, writes this letter to Timothy.
READ: 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Three things must occur for your legacy to live on.
First, you must be willing to receive instruction and encouragement and a listening heart from another. You can’t receive something you won’t accept. God has placed wise and experienced individuals in your path to encourage you and cheer you on as you battle forward.
Secondly, you must guard your relationship with Jesus Christ. Live in such a way daily that nothing is allowed to compromise your relationship with Christ. Are you fully surrendered to Christ or are you consciously and intentionally living in sin?
Guard the good deposit entrusted to you. The thief comes to steal, kill, & destroy. He cannot kill your salvation, but can steal your joy, hope, & peace. Many times the enemy doesn’t steal it, but we give it away. So guard it closely.
Thirdly, letting go of your legacy and guarding your relationship with Jesus can only be done through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. You can do nothing of value without His leading and His strength. All else is done in vain. The Holy Spirit must be powering your actions.
READ: 2 Timothy 2:1-2
And lastly, you must be willing to invest into others what was invested in you and more! In doing this, you leave a legacy and the Great Commission is being fulfilled. Who are you investing in? Don’t wait until you’re on your deathbed to release your blessing to another. Do it now. Begin the process of letting go now so your hands don’t stiffen around your legacy later. You were not given anything you were meant to keep.
At today’s “last call,” what are you saying with your “last words”? Think of a relay race. Today, are you receiving a baton, are you protecting the baton, are you gripping it with the hand of God, and are you letting go of the baton? Or are you refusing to receive the baton? Are you holding it too loosely? Are you keeping the baton for yourself?
Remember, you must…
1. Be willing to receive instruction & encouragement from others.
2. Guard your relationship with Jesus Christ through full obedience & surrender.
3. Use the strength of the Holy Spirit (through full surrender).
4. Pass on to others now what you’ve learned before.
“Heavenly Father, help us to receive wise instruction today. Burn away our attitudes of self-sufficiency and unhealthy independence and open our hearts to receive help. I fully surrender my life and my heart to You today…You are in control. I invite Your Holy Spirit to move through my heart and my mind and fulfill Your will for my life today. And help me to pass on to others all that you have blessed me with. Thank You for making Jesus’ life about the world. Help my life to be about others also. In Your Son, Jesus’ name, amen.”