Many years ago, in Kashmir, our medical team was asked to put on a free clinic for a poor village up in the mountains. The site was a long abandoned missionary clinic building and we worked non-stop with Indian partners providing medical and dental services.
During the afternoon of the first day I just had to get a break. It was raining but I walked out and went around to the back of the building to stretch. There I saw a small grove of pine trees with many vines and broken branches underneath. The rest of the yard had been cleared but underneath these trees it was completely overgrown. When I pushed back some of the vines I could see a small graveyard of, perhaps, twenty-five graves.
As I read the names, the dates, and the inscriptions, I became very moved and tearful. Here lay the bodies of men, women, and many children who had come to Kashmir as missionaries in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They had moved their families there, had learned the language, had ministered to the needy and had buried each other without seeing many converts to Jesus. What made me think that our little team could do something that these people could not? There was not much time for introspection, though, so I wiped away the tears and rain from my face and went back to the waiting patients. But I will never forget the sight that I had seen, nor the heroes that the graves represented.
These were just regular disciples of the past whose names and stories are unknown.
When Islam breaks, and the knowledge of God’s glory, the amazing gospel of Jesus, is passed from community to community in the mountains of Kashmir, it will be founded on the prayers and witness of these disciples that have gone before us. The work that we all do to build God’s kingdom is a part of a beautiful legacy that goes all the way back to the witness of the original apostles.
Main point: In one of his last lessons Jesus said: For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done (Matthew 16:27). Our work for God’s kingdom is our legacy but we do not work to earn our salvation. We work because we are saved!
So what: What legacy are you building?
I’d love to hear your thoughts?