Last week a little boy washed up on a beach in Turkey. A little boy with a red t-shirt and teeny tiny sneakers. A little boy with a family, friends; a little boy with a name. Aylan. Sweet Aylan, child of God. While I wish it was an image I never had to see, I looked at the picture of this precious child and thought of all the plans God must have had for him, what he liked to do, what made him laugh before the brokenness of our world drown him in the sea.
I have to believe we are better than this. I have to believe there is something we can do so no other child ever dies in such desperation. So no other child is born into war, poverty, hate. Four other children drowned that day in the Mediterranean. At the end of 2014 there were almost 20 million refugees and half of those were children. That number has only grown. How many more Aylans have their been? How many more does there have to be before we stop turning our heads because it’s just too hard to see. This is real life. This is happening now in our world. In our time.
Child abuse, neglect, pornography, babies organs harvested for money. Isis. Refugees and immigrants risking their lives and the lives of their children for a chance at the resources we greedily cling to. Children gunning one another down in our streets. It’s almost too much to bear. We are better than this.
When our bodies are lying in the ground, what will our community remember about us? What kind of emotions will it evoke from those that knew us? Will we have made an impact? Will our neighbor, our family, our community, the next generation be better because we lived?
Will they remember our judgment? Our condemnation? Our US versus THEM way of thinking? Will they remember that in our passion for Jesus we forgot that we are not the ones that were sent to save? Only He can. Will they wonder why our response to the unborn was swift and vehement while some of us did little for the orphan and the hungry, the homeless and the sick? Will they question why we lifted our voices the loudest toward gay marriage and worried so little about the dysfunction in our own?
There are businesses directed solely at planning your will, your estate, your riches. Our society focuses on the influence of the famous and the fortunate. What about our legacy? I want to leave a legacy. Don’t you?
Let’s leave a contribution that can’t be measured or held in our hands. Let’s leave a legacy of love. Of empowerment. Of peace. Let’s influence those around us in the way we live our lives. Let’s point to Jesus in how we love and let the Holy Spirit handle the saving. Let’s invite others with open arms and be thankful we don’t own the burden of judgment. Let’s shine His light. Let’s quit putting all of our efforts in to the things of this world and pour out our gifts and talents in to the lives of those around us. Let’s invest in the lives of our co-workers. Let’s reach out to those that are different than us. Let’s embrace the otherness of one another and see it for what it is, God designed beauty.
Let’s leave a legacy so when we are gone our children remember that we didn’t turn our face from the toddler that washed up along the shore…that it brought us to our knees as the tears fell. Let them know we felt it in the pit of our stomach. Let them feel it too. Let them remember that we fought and kicked and screamed through the brokenness and the heaviness and the muck…that we walked right in the middle of it with others. Let them know that we loved large. We shared Jesus. We gave to the point of sacrifice. And although we couldn’t change the world, we tried to change the world for one. And then the next one and then the next and we lived our lives in a way that others might want to do the same. Anyone can leave a trust fund. Let us leave a legacy.