legacy living well

What Are You Building with Your Life?

12:40 PMHeather

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about legacy.  This has been rolling around in my head since my last birthday. 47 isn't a milestone that most people associate with pondering life's purpose and what we leave behind.

But, my dad died at 47.

So, here I am. 47. Considering his legacy and pondering my own. 

Just what am I building with my life? Day by day. Minute by minute, in a million tiny choices of how I spend my time, what words I say or don't, and what actions I take. 

I found some surprising insight to legacy through a recurring theme in the book of Joshua. Repeatedly, this book speaks of piles of rocks that "remain to this day."

Piles of rocks. That are lasting legacies.

It's what we are all building with our lives, in tiny little decisions of how we spend the hours we have within every single day. 

Photo by Jay Nair on Unsplash

These five instances of rock piles seem to fall into two categories. There the piles of rock that speak to lives well lived and a pile of rock that speaks to an unfortunate legacy. 

First, we see in Joshua 4 that the entire nation of Israel crosses the middle of the Jordan River on dry land, during the height of its crest. 

At last, the desert wandering was over. 

At last, the years of learning to depend on God through daily manna were ushering in a new provision in the Promised Land.

At last, the idea of home and growing roots was coming to fruition.

After the Israelites had crossed, the leaders of the twelve tribes each took a stone and created a memorial "to the people of Israel forever" (Joshua 4:7) in order to testify to the goodness of God through the deserts that brought them to a land full of milk and honey. 

Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
Joshua 4:9

They built a pile of rocks that said this is who God is and this is what he has carried us through to get this point.

We see another pile of rocks that were built after a battle with Ai. The Israelites came back from a defeat against the people of Ai, and they faced them again. This time, the city of Ai was burned down. 

The Israelites "made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day," (Joshua 8:28). They marked the victory with a pile of rocks over the burial spot for the king of Ai:

"...And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day," (verse 29).

They built a pile of rocks that said God will bury our enemies once and for all. We will choose to courageously battle on, past defeat, to keep fighting as he leads.

Soon after, also in the eighth chapter of Joshua, the Israelites built an altar of uncut stones. They had faced both defeat and victory, and then God's people turned to renew their covenant with God.

Here, at this pile of rock, the people gave offerings, surrendering to the One True God. They used these stones as a place of worship. The entire nation stood and listened to all the words of God, intentionally turning their hearts toward him.

Just a couple of chapters later, in Joshua 10, the Israelites gain yet another victory. These five kings that they defeated were buried behind a pile of rocks "which are there to this day," (Joshua 10:27).

This pile of rocks speak to the God who walks with us from one battle to the next, and who is the source of strength and courage.

The book of Joshua also shows us a pile of rocks that speak to man's foolishness in a life that literally buried him.

In Joshua 7, we see that Achan the son of Carmi chose to take the devoted things of God and hoard them for his own personal gain and pleasure. He knowingly took the sacred things that he knew he was commanded to surrender to the treasury of the Lord.

Achan died, and "over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day," Joshua 7:26

They built this pile of rocks to cover a selfish life lived pursuing his own gain and acting unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things. Here we see another testimony, although this one is to the possibility of what can happen when we act foolishly and disregard the sacred.

All of these piles of rock spoken of in Joshua are asking us questions.

What are you building with your life?  Are you walking into flood waters and trusting God to bring you through to the other side of some long fought battle?

Are you facing a familiar enemy or battle that has been defeating you? Do you press forward, wrestling daily to build a life of faith, saying I do believe, help my unbelief?

Maybe you are in a glorious place of level ground. Are you intentionally taking time to renew your covenant to God, over and over and over, saying I choose God's way over all else, through regular time in the Word and prayer and worship?

Or maybe you are gathering your courage and strength and telling your soul to not be discouraged, as you go another round with some sort of struggle. Pebble by pebble, I urge you to build a pile of rocks that points to the One whose path you will keep choosing.

May we all learn from Achan. May we not bury ourselves in our own poor choices, neglecting the things of God. May we see the sacred and the profound in the daily gift of life and make the decision to surrender to God what belongs to him anyway.

Our legacy is measured in our piles of rock. 

In a million little ways, every day, may we pile up our stones of remembrance, our altars of worship, our monuments to victory.

For the one who is the Rock of Ages.

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