Our Legacy Is Determined Not by What People Think of Us, but by What They Think of Jesus
By Jim Denison, Crosswalk.com
As predicted, Everything Everywhere All At Once won last night’s Academy Award for Best Picture. The Best Picture nominees’ total box office gross was $4 billion, the highest in thirteen years. The show was three hours and forty minutes in length; by contrast, the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929 lasted fifteen minutes.
Here’s something all the Oscars have in common: the winners thank people who helped them win. Axios analyzed more than eighteen hundred Oscar acceptance speeches and found that 97 percent thanked someone. As they should: making a movie is among the most collective of all experiences.
Take Top Gun: Maverick as an example. By my count, there were ninety-seven members of the cast, forty-eight members of the makeup department, seventy-four members of the sound department, and several hundred visual effects contributors, just for a start. When I scrolled through the full credits on my laptop, they filled the screen thirty-nine times.
It turns out, “everything everywhere all at once” is more than a movie title—it describes the interconnectedness of life today.
Fed moves to stop banking crisis
This theme is illustrated by a second story dominating the morning news: the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which could have precipitated a “catastrophic banking crisis.” US regulators took control of the bank yesterday and announced emergency measures to enable all depositors to have access to all of their money today.
Customers withdrew $42 billion from their accounts with the bank last Thursday, the largest bank run in history, precipitating the bank’s collapse. SVB held the funds of hundreds of US tech companies, but more than 85 percent of its deposits were uninsured.
This crisis impacts far more than California’s Silicon Valley: state regulators also closed New York-based Signature Bank yesterday and assured all depositors that they will be made whole. Due to the interrelated nature of banking and technology today, financial institutions around the world are being affected.
One other global story dominated weekend headlines: the world reached the third anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic last Saturday. As the Associated Press reports, “the virus is still spreading and the death toll is nearing seven million worldwide.” As a result, “The virus appears here to stay, along with the threat of a more dangerous version sweeping the planet.”
Virus researcher Thomas Friedrich of the University of Wisconsin-Madison warned, “New variants emerging anywhere threaten us everywhere. Maybe that will help people to understand how connected we are.”
"People ask about a legacy. There's no legacy."
Actor William Shatner is preparing to release his documentary You Can Call Me Bill and explained in a recent interview, “I’ve turned down a lot of offers to do documentaries before. But I don’t have long to live.” The ninety-one-year-old Star Trek captain added, “This documentary is a way of reaching out after I die.”
Here’s why Shatner felt the need to make the film: “People ask about a legacy. There’s no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone. Who remembers Danny Kaye or Cary Grant? They were great stars. But they’re gone and no one cares. But what does live on are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time.”
I pray that William Shatner experiences the eternal life Jesus offers us not because of our “good deeds” but because of God’s love (Ephesians 2:8-9). But he’s right: in this fallen world, “No one remembers anyone.”
Can you name the Academy Award winners for Best Actor and Best Actress just two years ago?
What determines our true legacy
The good news is that our Father never forgets even one of his children: “The Lᴏʀᴅ has remembered us; he will bless us” (Psalm 115:12). We are all connected in that we are all loved by our Maker (John 3:16).
However, we are connected as well by the fact that our eternal life depends on our relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone knows John 3:16, but fewer know John 3:18: “Whoever believes in [Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Do you believe our culture’s relativistic insistence on tolerance, or do you believe Jesus?
Do you believe that every person you know who does not know Christ is “condemned already” and will spend eternity in hell unless they turn to him as their Savior and Lord (Revelation 20:15)? Believing that they need to believe is not enough: Are you praying for lost people by name? Are you seeking ways to share the good news of God’s love with them?
Here’s the bottom line: Our true legacy is determined not by what people think of us, but by what they think of Jesus.
When we reach people with God’s love, they impact others who impact others. Every dimension of society is affected as a result of our faithfulness to share the gospel, from crime to poverty to racism to substance abuse to loneliness and despair. The best way to change the world is to introduce everyone we know to the One who loves the world.
Then, one day, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
If the “end” comes today, will your Father find you faithful?
NOTE: Among the many questions we receive at Denison Forum, one arises quite often: Should I attend a same-sex wedding? That’s a challenging question, and the Bible provides insight into arriving at an answer. That’s why it’s also the lead question in the latest volume of our Biblical Insight to Tough Questions series, and I encourage you to request your copy of Vol. 11 today.
Publication date: March 13, 2023
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/mbolina
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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