by Andrew Cromwell
In John chapter 10, Jesus tells a story about sheep and shepherds. In it He describes two different kinds if shepherds. One is a hireling. The hireling doesn’t really care about the sheep. He is there for the paycheck. He has no intentions of staying on the job long term. If a wild animal attacks the sheep, the hireling runs the other way to protect himself.
But there is another kind of shepherd. This second shepherd is an owner shepherd. He is there not just for the money but for the long term. He loves and cares about the sheep. If there is something that threatens the sheep he is willing to actually put his life on the line to protect them.
When it comes to our lives, we all have to make a choice whether we are going to play the role of the hired hand or of the owner. We can see the bigger picture and live focused on the betterment of others, or we can live selfishly and seek purely after personal ambition. We can seek to leave a legacy that will endure into the future but that will cost us, or we can simply be in it for ourselves.
There are many roles we play in life; you might be an employee, a husband or a wife, a father or a mother. All of us have played the role of a son or a daughter, a friend and a community member. And most of us have had times when in those roles we failed to see the bigger picture. We were in the relationship for personal gain or personal pleasure. As soon as the going got tough, we got going.
And then there have been times when we have played the more difficult role. We have made the choice to be invested deeply in the relationship. We have cared enough to see beyond our personal wants and desires and have chosen to stick in and stick it out. We have committed to work through problems and not just work around them (or walk away from them). We had skin in the game, we were owners.
Owners leave a legacy. They build for the future. They impact future generations. They are world changers because they have decided to leave their world better than how they found it.
Legacy builders don’t happen by accident. No one drifts into leaving a legacy because a legacy takes time, determination, and commitment. But building a legacy is worth it every time.