Monday 28th December 2020
Title: Leaving a Legacy
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
The author, Moses, of Psalm 90 reminds us that a thousand years (v 4) are like a day to God because He is not limited by time. He is not restricted by time because He is eternal, but we are.
As cited in my 14th December 2020 devotion titled “Golden Years” – a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that at age 60, you reach the TOP of your potential and this continues into your 80s. Therefore, if your age is 60-70 or 70-80, you are at the BEST and 2nd best level of your life. In fact, v10 of this Psalm affirms “The length of our days is seventy – or eighty, if we have the strength”. Whether its 70 or 80 or even a 100, we will all have to go one day.
Realizing that our lives here on earth are short will help us to use the little time we have more wisely and for eternal good. Time and tide indeed wait for no man. There is a Chinese saying which says one still reminisces the teenage years of riding a bamboo horse but with a flicker of an eyelid, now a head of silver hair. What legacy do we want to leave behind before our Lord calls us home?
The average lifespan of Malaysians is 75.83 (2017), so at 76, I am already living on bonus years. Someone gave me this prayer titled
‘THE BONUS YEARS’.
I thank you, my God, for these bonus years that you have added to my full and active life on earth. Now I can do some of the things I have always wanted but never had the time to do. I seek to do those things, my Lord, not only for my pleasure, but also for your service. I have letters to write, people to see, old friends to call, ill and lonely people to comfort and cheer. I thank you for whatever good health remains, and for your grace in enabling me to carry out these projects. Help me, my great God, to use these days and years well, to discover that the greatest joy comes not in what I do for myself but in what I do for others. Even as I give of myself to the needs of others, help me find the pleasure and fulfillment in these bonus years before me. Amen Lord.
Yes, for those of us living on bonus years, what legacy do we want to leave behind? When I was 40 years old & had just started my full-time ministry, I told God I would be very happy if He would allow me to serve Him another 40 years. At 40 then, I thought another 40 years would be a long way off – 36 years have now gone by in the blink of an eye – 4 more years to go! This is one prayer I wish God would not answer. Now my prayer is that as God had been merciful to Hezekiah (2 Kings 20) may He have mercy also on me and grant me another 15 years as He did for Hezekiah. I remember Bill Gothard’s words in one of his Basic Life Principles Seminar – he said, “as long as our work here on earth is not done, our Lord will not take us home”. Lord, honest, the word “retirement” never crossed my mind!
One of the things I mentioned in my devotion on 14th December 2020 is that we can build bridges for the young who are coming behind us, to warn them of pitfalls that we had fallen into, that they may not make the mistakes we made – that’s one legacy we can leave behind. Another legacy I want to leave behind is my four children whom God had blessed my wife Alison and I with. From young, we taught them the greatest command is to love God with all their hearts and with all their souls and with all their minds and with all their strength, and to love their neighbours as themselves. Loving God is their first priority, nothing comes before that.
My eldest son is now in full-time ministry. The Lord has given my eldest daughter a heart for senior citizens. She is in her final year in Taiwan doing the Golden-Ager Industry Management degree. I gave her the vision to start a senior citizen’s home together with an orphanage where both can be a blessing to each other. God has blessed my second daughter with her own business and she is also serving faithfully in her church. My youngest son at 14 last year walked out of a Life Game Retreat for full-time ministry. I did that too at 18 but I ran for 17 years before the Lord caught up with me! My only regret now is that I should have fulfilled my commitment much earlier. My prayer is that my son will not have that same regret.
A gifted scholar, Zhao Jie, from Beijing University said (about the greatest wish of parents for their children) “All we ask is for them to be happy and healthy.” That’s true of all parents but as Christian parents, we need to pray for two more things. One is that they, like us, would come to know our Lord Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. Secondly our greatest wish and legacy is that our children would love and serve God more than we do.
The Church is a spiritual family that God has blessed us with. If you are single or do not have children of your own, do build into the lives of so many of our young people in church. Encourage them to love and serve God the way you do – but of course you must lead by example. I owe my present life, to a certain extent, to a sister in my church who told me when I was a teenager, that I would have wasted my life if I did not go into full-time ministry. This sister later married a Pastor.
So my dear brothers and sisters, as we come to the end of 2020 – a year we will never forget the rest of our lives – ask ourselves what legacy we want to leave behind before the Lord calls us home? May your answer to that question be your New Year resolution and prayer for the rest of your life. Then like Paul, we can confidently say at the end of our life : I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7)
Dear Lord, thank you for leading and protecting us through this difficult year of the pandemic. Thank you for the blessing of health in our golden years and for some, even in our bonus years. Help us to ask ourselves what legacies we want to leave behind in our family or church before you call us home. In Jesus’ Name we pray all these,
正如我在2020年12月14日以 “黄金岁月” 为题的灵粮所提及 – 《新英格兰医学杂志》上发表的一项研究发现，在60岁时，您达到发挥潜力的巅峰，且会一直持续到80岁。 因此，如果您的年龄是60-70或70-80，您是正处于生命的最佳和第二佳的阶段中。 实际上，这诗篇的第10节肯定了 “我们一生的年日是七十岁，若是强壮可到八十岁”。无论是七十岁还是八十岁，甚至是一百岁，我们都会有离开的一天。
是的，对于我们这些活在额外恩典岁月中的人来说，我们想留下什么生命的遗产呢？当我40岁刚开始我的全职事奉时，我告诉上帝，如果祂允许我再服事祂40年，我会很高兴。当时我40岁了，我想再过40年还很遥远 – 眨眼间已经过去了36年 – 还有4年的时间！这是一个我希望上帝不应允的祈祷。现在，我的祷告是愿上帝怜悯我正如祂怜悯希西家【列王纪下20】一样，再给我15年，就像祂为希西家所做的那样。我记得比尔•哥德（Bill Gothard）在他的《基本生活原则》研讨会中的一句话 – 他说：“只要我们在地上的工作还没有完成，我们的主就不会带我们回家。” 主啊，老实说，我从来没有想过 “退休” 这个词！
我在2020年12月14日的灵粮中提到的一件事是，我们可以为后来跟上来的年轻人架起一座桥梁，警惕他们关于我们曾经落入的陷阱，让他们不会重蹈我们的覆辙 – 这是我们可以留下的一项具生命影响的遗产。另一项我要留下的遗业是上帝赐予了我和妻子艾莉森（Alison）的四个孩子。从小我们就教导他们最大的诫命就是尽心、尽性、尽意、尽力爱上帝，并爱邻舍如己。爱上帝是他们的首要任务，没有什么比这更为重要的。
我的长子现在是全职侍奉。上帝赐给我的长女一个敬爱乐龄人士的心。她现在台湾攻读乐龄人士工业管理学位的最后一年。我给了她一个愿景，就是开办一个与孤儿院一起的乐龄之家，两者都可以成为彼此的祝福。上帝赐予我第二个女儿有自己的事业，她也在教会里忠心地服事主。我最小的儿子去年14岁，在 “人生游戏退修会” 里决志全职侍奉。我在18岁时也这么做了，但我逃避了17年，直到主追上了我！我现在唯一的遗憾是我应该更早地履行我的承诺。我的祈祷是我的儿子不会有同样的遗憾。
北京大学的一位才华横溢的学者赵洁（关于父母对孩子的最大期望）说： “我们所要求的只是让他们快乐健康。” 所有的父母都是如此，但作为基督徒的父母，我们需要为另外两件事祷告。其一，他们会像我们一样，认识我们的主耶稣为他们个人的主和救主。其次，我们最大的愿望和留下给他们的精神遗产，是我们的孩子会比我们更爱上帝，更爱侍奉祂。
教会是上帝赐予我们的属灵家庭。如果您是单身或没有自己的孩子，请您在教会中融入建造众多年轻人的生命。鼓励他们像您一样爱上帝、事奉上帝 – 当然，您必须以身作则。在某种程度上，我现在的生命应该归功于我教会的一位姐妹，她在我十多岁的时候告诉我，如果我不全职侍奉，我就浪费生命了。这位姐妹后来嫁给了一位牧师。
因此，我亲爱的兄弟姐妹们，当我们来到2020年底 – 这一年我们余生将永远不会忘记 – 问问自己，在上帝召唤我们回家之前，我们想留下什么遗产？愿您对这个问题的回答是您对新年的展望和余生的祈祷。然后，像保罗一样，我们可以在生命的尽头自信地说：那美好的仗我已经打过了，当跑的路我已经跑尽了，所信的道我已经守住了。【提摩太后书4:7】