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Legacy vs Reputation

Sep 11 2012

‘I Would Rather Have a Legacy Than a Reputation’.

The more I look at it, there are two distinct ways to build your life.

One way ensures you’ll be noticed. It makes sure you are viewed in the best possible light by those who can help you the most, not those you can help the most. It means promotion over principle and choosing today over tomorrow. This way will build ‘your platform’ or ‘your audience’, and promises thousands of Twitter followers and global internet stardom. You might need to take a few shortcuts to get your agenda noticed, but it will be worth it as you bask in the warm glow of taking the credit. You’ll be quoted, promoted and voted up-and-comer of the year.

Sounds extreme, but what’s truly frightening is that often we live this way without even realising the direction we’re steering our life towards.

Then there’s the other way. Well, this way might not seem as much fun up front, per se. You’ll plow the ground, plant the seed, water it, then water it some more. You’ll protect the seedling, water it some more, then rejoice when life finally starts to spring up from what was once hard, rocky soil. You’ll build a shade to nurture it, protect it from the elements and predators and continue to water it. You’ll water it some more, build a brace to keep it growing in the desired direction, and begin to prune it. You’ll point it towards the sun and let it grow, as others start to come and take shelter under its branches and enjoy its fruit. You’ll plant more trees and go from one to the next – nurturing and caring for them as they begin to take shape. After a while (usually longer than you’d like), what started out as barren, rocky soil, has turned into an orchard of enormous, strong, fruit-bearing trees. You step back and smile, because instead of carving your name into one enormous tree, you now have an orchard that doesn’t bear your name, but bears fruit for many more to enjoy, which has changed the entire landscape around you.

And I don’t know about you, but I know what I want to see when I step back. Although the first way is instantly gratifying & appeals to our flesh, it is the second way that leads to meaningful impact. To something that will last.

This way, however, takes diligent intent at every single step in order to stay on course and not waver.

This second way is the way I have been led by so many in our church family. It’s the way I see so many of our church leadership build here at Hillsong Church, with little thought (or desire) for their own notoriety. And it’s how I want to live too.

I would rather have relationships than rewards.

I would rather have strong foundations than better decorations.

I would rather take the high road than the path of least resistance.

I would rather break new ground than be consumed with where I stand.

I would rather have a legacy than a reputation.