Living To Leave A Legacy

"People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen."

This is one of my favorite quotes and it's by Donald Miller from his book A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. Its a poignant statement that divides people into two groups: those who are wishful-thinkers and those who are doers.

If you're like me, your desire is to be a man who leaves a legacy of honor, character, and godliness. To have lived a life in which those who know you would say, "I'm a better person for having known this man." Most, if not all, have this desire but not many have achieved such a legacy. This doesn't mean that a man who makes mistakes or has experienced failures is disqualified from such a legacy. But the culture of our time has a way of bending, if not crippling, men to a point that they lose heart, hope, drive, commitment. Whatever you want to call it...they fall away from the path to this legacy.

When you hear talk about "legacy" what or who do you think about? Maybe you have men in your life that have exemplified this legacy. Maybe a father, or coach, or teacher. Maybe it was your pastor or just a man who provided mentoring to you. Maybe it was someone you didn't know personally but their life was as such that you were compelled to emulate them.

First and foremost, his commitment to loving his wife and family. He was quoted as saying, "Love your children--and let them know you love them. Children who experience love find it far easier to believe God loves them."

Second, his passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and desire to share it with as many as he was able gave him purpose and focus. This life came with its share of challenges and mistakes. Make no presumption, Billy was not a perfect man. But he knew to Whom he belonged and believed in God's Grace. He walked with sincere humility but also possessed great confidence.

I never had the privilege to meet Billy Graham personally but consider it an honor to have observed him in my lifetime. As a matter of fact, my middle son--Cademon GRAHAM Smith--was name in his honor. I have met countless folks who have been directly impacted by him, whether it was through one of his books or attending one of his crusades. To have preached to over 215 million people in over 185 countries, it's likely that almost every person knows someone who has been impacted by this man, directly or indirectly.

I don't share this to suggest that we need to attain the same status as Billy Graham in order to leave a legacy. Honestly, it's highly unlikely you are called to do that. Neither am I suggesting that only those who are preachers or missionaries have the most impact in the world for Christ.

What I AM trying to say is that, as a matter of principle, Billy's life should serve as an example that we model.

He was a devoted husband and father. He committed himself to be a man of prayer. He set disciplines in his life that guided him towards a life of integrity (eg., he vowed to never be in compromising situations alone with another woman who wasn't his wife or family). He treated every person, regardless of race or creed or political posture, with dignity and respect. He kept the main thing, the main thing...God loves you and His Son was sent as a ransom for your life...personally receive His love and forgiveness and walk in newness of life in Christ. Everything else was secondary.

When I read Hebrews 12:1-2 I'm reminded of a relay race where each team member must run their turn around the track and then pass the baton on to his teammate for his turn around. I imagine the same in the race of life. Each of us are a part of this team and our turn to run is upon us. Those who have gone before us and run with perseverance have now passed the baton to us.

I felt that baton in my hand last Friday even more.

As this great hero of our faith crossed the finish line and passed from this life he passed that baton onto you and me. And in doing so I can hear him saying with arms waving forward, "RUN...RUN...FINISH THE RACE!"

The race is difficult and long. It is met with many distractions. The fatigue and soreness sets in and giving up feels like a better option. It's an analogy, you see...struggles in marriage, challenges with unruly or boisterous children, overwhelming demands at work, money issues, sexual temptations, health concerns, feeling insignificant, fear, loneliness, depression. All these are issues that plague men from every walk of life.

The worst thing about the list of issues above is not the issues themselves. It's dealing with them and feeling like you're the only one who does.

I'd say the worst feeling in the world is hopelessness...second, though, is loneliness.

Having the feeling that no one has your back. I'm not an introvert, but even introverts would admit that there's a difference in desiring solitude and feeling alone.

Gentlemen, we were designed for fellowship. No man is an island, so the saying goes. If you're trekking along in this "race" and you doing it alone then I dare say you're finding it rather challenging OR you're lying. Even if life seems to be going ok right now, well, hold tight because it's coming...the storm, you know. It's coming. As Dave Ramsey is famous for saying in financial matters, "Murphy ALWAYS comes knocking...and at the least opportune time." Murphy isn't always looking for money, either. Sometimes he's looking for something that can cause far greater pain.

So, here's what I propose....


That's right, MANTIME is the perfect opportunity for you to make some sense of this "race" and learn how to run it with principle, honor, and commitment. Discover your own story and find others that are learning to do the same. It's a great environment to be yourself and connect with other men who are just regular guys like yourself.

Attending MANTIME might be the best investment in yourself you've done in a long time.

Maybe you've never invested in yourself at all. Sure, you've done things for yourself, bought yourself things, you have hobbies and interests. But, have you truly made an investment in the areas of your life that invoke change...real change?


I hope you take advantage of this weekend. Some of you have attended every year. Others have come in the past but have been unable to attend for a couple years. Some of you guys know another guy, whether family, friend, or co-worker, that could really benefit from MANTIME. They need an invite.

I'm excited about this year's speaker, David Murrow. I'm looking forward to hearing his words of encouragement and challenge. I'm also looking forward to some vigorous cornhole games and the late night discussions around the bonfire. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you who choose to attend.

Register now at MANTIME