About Sandra Bivens Smith

Christian Writer. Speaker. Small Group Leader/Teacher

Leaving a Legacy

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5)

Each of us is leaving a legacy. Every day we are adding something to the portrait of our lives, and eventually what we leave behind—our decisions, our contributions, our priorities—will remain, at least for a time, for others to reflect upon and consider.

At the end of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, we find the words of an older man whose life was coming to an end: “I am already being poured out as a drink offering,” he says, “and the time of my departure has come” (2 Timothy 4:6). In this context, he exhorts Timothy to take his responsibilities seriously, to consider his legacy, and to contemplate both the helpful and harmful legacies left behind by many that Paul encountered.

In the opening chapter, Paul had reminded Timothy that “all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). These individuals receive one mention in the Bible, and it is to record the fact that they deserted a man in need. Paul also warns Timothy to be on his guard concerning people like Hymenaeus and Philetus, whose “talk … spread like gangrene” and who “swerved from the truth,” or like Alexander the coppersmith, who, Paul says, “did me great harm” (2:17-18; 4:14). When we look at the portraits these individuals left behind, we see a legacy of desertion, false teaching, and opposition to the gospel.

But Paul’s letter is also replete with mention of those who left helpful, beneficial legacies. For example, Lois and Eunice demonstrated sincere faith, which Paul is certain now dwells in the young pastor Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5). Likewise, Paul exhorts his protégé to remember Onesiphorus, who “often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me” (v 16-17). Onesiphorus left behind a legacy of faith, courage, and conviction. If he said he’d be somewhere, he was there. He was a man on whom Paul could fully rely.

We are all leaving a legacy. When we walk out of a room, either we leave behind the aroma of Christ that spreads the knowledge of Him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:15-16), or we are leaving the less pleasant smell of self-promotion or the vacuum of saying and being nothing much at all. A legacy of faithfulness, godliness, kindness, gentleness, honesty, integrity, love, and peace is a legacy that will be remembered with affection. But most importantly, it will point people to the one whose life matters most—the Lord Jesus. 

A legacy is the accretion of daily decisions to make a difference for Christ: to love Him and love our neighbor, to pursue peace and speak of Him. Today, you will build a small—or perhaps major—part of your own legacy. So do the work God has prepared for you to do and make a difference for Him. After all, we never know when we’ve just made our final deposit in the legacy we’re leaving.

Devotional material is taken from Truth For Life Daily Devotional by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.

God Centered Focus

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Amateur photographers often don’t know what they’re focusing on. They know what they thinkthey’re focusing on—but then the pictures end up containing blurry faces and buildings askew. Then they may look at their work and respond, “This isn’t what I was pointing at!” But the fact of the matter is, the photos reveal exactly where and how the lens was positioned. 

In life’s highs and lows—and every moment in between—the way you and I react to circumstances reveals the angle of our camera lens, the focus of our hearts and minds. The challenge for believers, then, is to live with a focus that is centered on God. 

Jesus made it very clear that in order for us to embrace a God-centered focus, we must first understand who we are without Him. In fact, Jesus explained to His disciples that apart from Him they could do nothing; after all, “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Our need for Jesus is not partial; it is total. None of us can even breathe without God’s enabling. How can we think of taking credit for any work that He’s done through us? We are absolutely impoverished without divine help. 

This principle runs throughout the entire Bible. Moses, chosen by God to lead the Israelite people out of bondage and slavery, was adamant that he couldn’t do the job unless God was with him—and he was right (Exodus 3:11-12). Amos was a keeper of fig trees and a shepherd; he had nothing to contribute to the ministry when God appointed him as a prophet (Amos 7:14-15). Daniel, likewise, with his amazing ability to interpret dreams, was quick to give every bit of credit to God (Daniel 2:26-28). Each of these men recognized his utter dependency on God. In fact, no one in Scripture who achieved great things for God did so without relying wholly on God. For their ability to do the work they were called to do, they looked up rather than looking in. 

As Christians called to live with a God-centered focus, we must not ascribe too much attention to ourselves or our abilities, for in doing so, we may very well obscure God’s grace and power in our lives. In Christ, we ought not to boast in our abilities or seek any opportunity to draw attention to ourselves. Instead, we should merely wish to be known as servants of the living God, to be useful in His service as He works in us according to His good purpose, and to point away from ourselves and to Him in all we do and say.

Where will your focus be today? And when success or praise come your way, to whom will you point?

Devotional material is taken from Truth For Life Daily Devotional by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.