Legacy – More Than I Had Thought

Picture 0121This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to a men’s retreat with my buddy Ray, and a father and son from our church.  We shared a lot of stories, had some laughs, and shed a few tears as well.  We ate, we slept (sorta), and we took some walks around the beautiful lake.  So, how do you gauge if you had a good men’s retreat?  I think you don’t know for sure until you are home.

As I write this I have yet to really sit down and discuss with my wife and kids what I learned from the messages we had.  I’ve given them some snippets, but we have been on the run since I got home and I want to give this the attention it deserves. It is giving me a little extra time to go over it in my mind, and to talk about it with some other men I am blessed to work with.  My hope is that when I do sit down with them I have a better grasp on what changes God is asking of me.

The thrust of the weekend was Legacy.  I have always looked at Legacy as something that I leave for my family.  It is the way I acted in life that has left an impression on my kids that they will (for better or worse) pass onto their kids.  It has been something I view as important, and something I have viewed as being up to me.  This weekend we were shown a different view of it though.

I think as men we often want to bring the limelight back to ourselves, and my definition of legacy does just that.  What did I do to impact my family?  What pearls of wisdom did I leave behind for them?  Truth is that is the wrong way to look at Legacy, and they showed me that so well this weekend.  It is not about what I do.  Legacy is all about God’s work in a family.  It’s not about me.  It’s all about Him and how His servant has responded to His leading as the designated servant leader of the home!

So, what does that mean?  Am I off the hook? Not for a second.  I have a calling to lead my family closer to God, and the amazing thing about that is how God has supplied an amazing tool to do just that very thing.  Is it the church? Small group? Worship music? A specific study by the latest and greatest Christian author? No.  Thankfully no.  It is the second point that has been in my mind the most since leaving camp.

The greatest tool God uses to turn me into the kind of man that responds to God’s leading to leave a godly legacy is my family.

There it is, staring you right in the hairy eyeball.  The first institution put together on earth – the family.  God gave us our families to help us grow!  Everything that happens in our family’s day-to-day life provides us with opportunities to choose God or self.  It might hide behind an activity that we choose to do, but how we do that activity (attitude), where we do it (discernment), or when we do it (priorities) are all choices that we make that impacts our spiritual lives and in turn those of our families!

I have to tell you that I am really not bragging here because when I was faced with some of this stuff, I have had to take a very serious look at my attitudes, my priorities, my plans, and a lot of other things, and when I get to the bottom of things…  I have a lot of work to do.  As a husband and as a father to a son and a daughter I am probably not doing too bad in the eyes of some, but I can’t just compare myself to the next guy.  I have to compare myself to one Man in particular

I’m supposed to love my wife as Christ loved the church.  He gave Himself up for the church. He modeled truth blended with grace in what I would call an effortless manner.  I’m about as effortless as a blind, three-legged bull in a china shop.  Some days I feel like it is nothing short of a miracle that my wife has stayed with me because of my failures.  The standard of Christ is what I am supposed to aim for as a husband.

God has shown Himself over and over in Scripture as the standard of the father.  He disciplines those He loves, and He lavishes His love on them.  He gives to His children the things that He promises to them.  He blesses them not just because they obey, but because they are His.  This is the standard I am supposed to aim for as a dad.

So, I have some work ahead of me.  That’s okay.  I’m not perfect. I want to be better.  I hope that as people read this blog they see that in me.  This is not about showing you how good I am or how well I can express myself.  This is all about how God is working in me, and when my life is over, I hope people will look back and not say what a great guy I was, but that they will say how they saw God use me to impact my family first, then those I care about as friends, and that I had a heart for everyone.

Yeah, that last one is really going to take some work…

In His Grip,



Author: Tom Tanner

I'm a follower of Christ, husband, and father. Over the last few years I have been learning how to dig deeper into God's Word and letting it influence more of my life. As I learn, try, fail, and repeat in this process I am seeing God's hand more and more in my life and that of my family as well. This journey is long, hard, and at times a little lonely, but living a Relentless life for Christ has rewards that reach beyond me and my family. My prayer is that it brings God glory and leaves a legacy that will show His influence in my life.

I would love to hear your comments here or e-mail them privately to myrelentlessgrowth@gmail.com

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