2 Kings 8:25-29 – What’s Your Legacy Going To Be?

Posted: June 28, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 8:25-29

Ahaziah Rules in Judah

We have just completed 95% or more of our unpacking here in our new home here in Lamar, SC. The parsonage is now pretty much our home. We still have a good many wall hangings and other artwork to place on the walls to get to the 100% done phase of moving. I have also got my office pretty much situated. I did that yesterday evening. It’s been two days of non-stop being on your feet – opening boxes, lifting, toting, and putting away. Assembling furniture. Allen wrenches. Washers. Tightening screws. More lifting, toting, and putting away. If I have to pop open another taped box anytime soon, I think I will scream. Over the last two days, I have not had time to think much about what we are entering into – other than people calling me Pastor, Pastor Mark, or Rev. Bowling. We have been in “git-r-dun” mode on getting the parsonage set up as our home.

But yesterday as I was headed back to the parsonage from unloading my 10 boxes of books in my office, it began to hit me. I am the pastor of this church. It is not a concept. It is no longer a longing. It is real. It is now. Sure, I have the education and licensing. I am legitimately, by human standards, qualified to be here doing what I will be doing. Sure, I have spent the last 8 ½ years performing administrative functions and teaching and counseling at two different churches, first as volunteer, then as part-time staffer and then finally at Calvary as a full-time vocational staff pastor. But I have never been THE pastor. Sure, I have been counselor to some, teacher to some, small group leader to some, but never the lead pastor. Now, here, at Lamar United Methodist Church, I am not only the lead pastor, I am the only pastor. So, on the way home which is a short two-minute ride to the parsonage, it began to hit me, I am the pastor of this church.

Today, after the cable guy leaves (the necessary visit!), I will begin easy into the job beginning with a meeting with the church’s administrative assistant. I wanted to meet with her to find out the status of things such as who is in the hospital, who are the elderly folks in nursing homes, who are the ministry leaders and committee chairpersons, and so on – the lay of the land stuff. And then Sunday, I begin the regular process of preaching most likely 50 Sundays a year and then next week I really begin the day to day work of being pastor. Wow, all the talk is done. All the dreaming is done. All the preparation is done. It is here. It is real. Not a concept. Talk about feeling a bit overwhelmed at a thought.

I thought about my dad doing this small-town Methodist church pastoring thing for 55 years. My dad was a Methodist pastor until he could not physically do it anymore. My brother is also a Methodist pastor and still doing this – now beginning is 38th year of full-time pastoral ministry. One of my uncles was a Methodist pastor for 50 years. Even my brother’s father-in-law was a Methodist pastor. This being a Methodist pastor in South Carolina is kind of the family business. Now I am joining into the family legacy. I guess I am a bit overwhelmed right now at the family legacy, the job itself, and whether I am really ready for this. It has been a dream for the past 8 ½ years. Now it’s here. Now, too, I join the legacy.

That was what I thought of this morning as I read through this seemingly insignificant passage, 2 Kings 8:25-29. It is about a king who reigned only one year. It just seems like historical filler and seems not to have any theological meat to it at all. Sometimes, in the Old Testament historical books, some passages just don’t seem to have any theological meat to them and just seem historical only. On those passages, at first blush, you wonder exactly what it is you are supposed to learn about God from it. It just seems as if there is nothing to draw from when you look at that passage solely in isolation. However, the Holy Spirit aids us to get something out of every passage in the Bible. The Holy Spirit put the word “legacy” on my heart. When you view this passage in the overall context of the decline of Israel and Judah, then it does come alive when you think of “legacy”. Let’s read 2 Kings 8:25-29 together, now:

25 Ahaziah son of Jehoram began to rule over Judah in the twelfth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab, king of Israel.

26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. 27 Ahaziah followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done, for he was related by marriage to the family of Ahab.

28 Ahaziah joined Joram son of Ahab in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded King Joram in the battle, 29 he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth.[a] Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.

Here, in this passage you see that Ahaziah began to rule in Judah. His family tree goes back to Ahab and Jezebel. That is where the legacy comes in. Ahab and, especially, Jezebel are synonymous with evil among us as Christians and as well among the Jewish people. Even those outside our Judeo-Christian heritage and among non-religious people, the term, Jezebel, is a derisive comment about a person that is simply evil and mean. It is sometimes used to throw at someone when you want to get them back into line – “don’t be a Jezebel” or “you have a Jezebel spirit today!”. That’s quite a legacy that lives on thousands of years later and has permeated all of human culture and not just the Judeo-Christian tradition. Here, you see that the progeny of Ahab and Jezebel were all evil kings and queens and princes and princesses. Ahaziah was no different. He lived what he knew. That’s the legacy.

My dad’s legacy is that he had a brother that he inspired to go into the Methodist ministry in South Carolina like him. My dad’s legacy is that he inspired his oldest son to follow in his footsteps like him. My dad’s legacy is now that after his death that his youngest son is now also a Methodist minister in South Carolina. This is the family legacy. Not that my brother or I are any great saints or anything. Not that my dad is was a perfect man on this side of heaven. But he did his best to serve the Lord in all his imperfections. He knew how to be a minister and he led each flock pretty well. Sure, there were problems along the way where he made mistakes as we all do and will. But he kept at it. He was a pastor for 55 years. He led churches for 55 years. This is the example that he lived. This is the inspiration for two sons being in the ministry in the United Methodist Church in South Carolina. This is the legacy. My brother has been in this journey for 37 full years and begins his 38th year now. I begin my journey in this church in this state now. Surely, dad who now knows all his imperfections in clear detail as he sits in grace in heaven must be smiling that he did something right. This is the legacy.

What will be your legacy? What will you leave behind? What example are you setting for your kids (and even your grandchildren)? What will be your legacy? Will you leave behind children and grandchildren that love the Lord and serve him daily – maybe not as ministers but as faithful Christ followers? What will be that which you leave behind? What example are you setting to be followed? Will your children and grandchildren know the Lord? Will they know right from wrong? Will they know what it means to be a Christ follower? What will be your legacy?

Amen and Amen.

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