“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
The writer of Hebrews imagined the “great cloud of witnesses” from Hebrews 11 as cheering them on as they faced difficult times. They left a mark of faith, a legacy for others to be inspired by. What do you hope your legacy to be? Perhaps an illustration can assist you:
Most of us will never have the chance to change our obituaries. Alfred Nobel (1833- 1896) did. The year was 1888. Alfred’s brother had died, but the local newspaper confused the names and thought Alfred had died. So the next day, reading the paper, he found his own obituary. He was horrified to see its title: “The merchant of death is dead.”
Alfred Nobel had invented dynamite. He thought his invention would be an instrument of peace, and that no one would use such deadly power for destruction. But he was wrong, of course. The newspaper pictured him as a man who spent his life gathering a great fortune from the manufacture of weapons of destruction. As far as the world knew, that was true. So Alfred Nobel made a new resolution. In his last will and testament he deeded his great funds to the Nobel Prizes, including an award honoring those who work for peace and harmony in the world—the Nobel Peace Prize.
I would suggest giving each adult in your class two notecards sometime when your lesson is focusing on legacy. On one notecard have them write a sentence or two about their own obituary and ask these questions:
1. What do you want to be known for when you leave this world?
2. What lasting significance do you want to make?
3. How can you be an inspiration to others in the faith?
After they have written down their sentences, share Hebrews 12. Ask them to write on the next notecard based on these questions:
1. What is weighing you down and keeping you from “fixing your eyes on Jesus” and seeing your legacy become a reality?
2. Is there something you need to do (that you are not doing now) to prepare you to make a lasting difference in your legacy?
Encourage participants to talk to their prayer partners about what they need to do to make a lasting legacy. I believe decisions that are lasting require another person to pray for us and encourage us. So what do you want your legacy to be?