My dad, John F. Wiebe, passed from this earthly life April 23, 2018, to the glory that awaits all who believe in the name of Jesus. As we reflected on his life, one theme that was evident to all who knew him was his anticipation of Christ’s return and his study of prophecy and the end times. Part of Dad’s legacy is to watch and wait. To live expectantly for our coming King.
Back in the day, our family performed songs like The King Is Coming, There Is a River, I Wish We’d All Been Ready to urge audiences to be ready. To instill an expectation and hope in Christ’s second coming. This is part of Dad’s legacy.
What will your legacy be? One of the new tenants of our national family is intentional discipleship. The legacy we leave behind is a powerful way to intentionally disciple our family and friends. How is your life influencing others to grow as a disciple? What will people remember about your faith when your earthly existence is no more?
I had the special privilege of cleaning out my dad’s study. Although he’d only lived in the house about 20 years, I was impressed by the number of white papers on different Bible passages or biblical themes. Index cards scattered about with various Bible verses. And several shelves of books on prophecy and the second coming. This too, reflects part of Dad’s legacy.
David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, says in his book, Giving It All Away, “Our call in this day and age is to preserve and to pass on our story—our legacy—to those coming after us. Our children. Our grandchildren. Our great-grandchildren. Even those children we never know or see.” Passing on a legacy is intentional disciple-making and has the power to affect many, within your family and without, with deep spiritual values.
A few years ago, I became involved in processing an estate gift where the parents had made provision for a 10 percent charitable gift. From the start, the siblings were at odds with us as we attempted to carry out the parents’ wishes. Eventually, they became at odds with each other so much that one resigned as co-executor so she wouldn’t have to work with her brother. A legacy is marred, a discipleship opportunity squandered.
Recently, I’ve been privileged to work with a family whose parents left a significant estate with multigenerational wealth at stake. They have methodically stewarded these resources for kingdom benefit. They established a mission statement for these funds that honors their parents, while directing future generations to use these funds in ways that further the gospel and brings honor to Jesus’ name. This is a legacy that will fund ministry and intentionally disciple future generations of family and nonfamily.
What story are you writing for future generations to read? How is your life—how will your death—point others closer to Christ or away from him? From my vantage point, we have a tremendous opportunity to influence others, to intentionally disciple others, through the legacy we live…and leave.
My dad wasn’t perfect. We can point out his imperfections. But the legacy he left was impressed on us at an early age and was reinforced in the story he left behind.
May your story, and mine, be further evidence of God’s faithfulness and encourage many to a closer walk of discipleship.
Jon C. Wiebe has served since 1998 as president and CEO of MB Foundation, the stewardship ministry serving U.S. Mennonite Brethren. He is a graduate of Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas, and the University of Denver, Colorado. He is an active member of Parkview MB Church in Hillsboro. He and his wife, Ellynne, have two married sons.