A few days ago, I was walking along the beach just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. At first, I was walking into the sunlight, then I turned around, and the sun was to my back. As I walked, I noticed my shadow was in front of me, and since the sun was just coming up, it made the shadow look very long. So I took this picture of it.
This thought came into my mind, “Cast a long shadow. “
I thought of King David as he was older where he made a request of the Lord. He said something along these lines, Oh God, You called and anointed me in my youth, and all these years, I have spoken your word. Now, as I am older and have gray continue to bless me so that I can show your blessings and tell these new generations of your miracles (Psalm 71:17-18 JLN personal paraphrase).
David is asking God that he might, cast a long shadow.
He is not asking only for a long life, but for a far-reaching impact. That is the blessing of living out God’s will for our lives. We are not living for ourselves. Paul said, “No one lives to himself, and no one dies to himself ” (Romans 14:7). As men and women of God, we have the privilege of planting the gospel “seed” into the lives of people.
That seed will result in a harvest of a hundred times over.
Jesus said, “The words that I speak they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). He also said that the Word of God is like “seed.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”(1 Corinthians 3:6).
On this Monday morning, you might feel that the garden God has given you to plant in is so small. Maybe, you preach to a handful of people or you serve a small group, but the power is not in the numbers or the size of your garden. The power is in the seed.
It’s the message that we preach.
The example that we live.
The love that we share.
In Acts chapter seven, Stephen was a young disciple, and his proper place of ministry in the church was to take food to the widows. He was given this position so the “Apostles” could “give their time to preaching the Word of God.” But, Stephen began to preach, and it seems that he might have been much bolder than the Apostles. Shortly after the religious leaders killed him because of his message. As he was dying, he cast a long shadow that pushed the church beyond Jerusalem and into the world.
David Livingston was one of the first missionaries to Africa and he resolved: “I will place no value on anything I have or possess, except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” He died penniless in a miserable hut in the hot, heart of Africa. They buried him in the center spot of Westminster Abbey in London, the most distinguished burying-place at that time in the world. These words are chiseled in the marble: “For thirty years his life was spent in an unwearied effort to evangelize.” His brother John lived to make a fortune and died a millionaire. His legacy is, “He was David Livingstone’s brother.”
My brother Mike Neville died when he was 49 years old, a short life. He did not get to see the extent that we have of the ministry God birthed through his life. He did not see his children and grandchildren all serving God and in the ministry, but his life, message, and love cast a long shadow that has affected thousands of people and generations.
You can have confidence today that as you give yourself to do the will of God your, “labor is productive and the fruit will endure” (1 Corinthians 15:58 JLN). Be faithful to what God gives you to accomplish and walk in his purpose and your life will also cast a long shadow.
Have a blessed Monday.