leave a legacy

Pee Wee Herman died. I saw him do his stand-up on TV specials and Letterman’s show when he first started out. He was bizarre, funny, and “over the top”, like Andy Kaufman or Gilbert Godfrey. When his movie came out, it had some culture-defining moments, like his dance on the bar and the big bike. We all watched it in high school, but I never watched his kids’ show. It won awards and was praised as “delightful, colorful, respectful, and kind.” Then Pee Wee, (the actor Paul Reubens) “acted sideways,” ran into troubles with the law, and his few minutes of fame were over. He had some obscure acting jobs later, and now he’s gone. 70 years. It makes you think about a life lived, the legacy you leave, what you’re building, and what guides you.

Solomon had finished building the temple for the Lord and his own house to live in, all that he had desired to build, and the Lord appeared to him. Cool. Then the Lord spoke a few positive words (even better)! “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.” All very good. God heard his prayer and was very personal, with His name, His eyes, His heart. Solomon might have been pretty high on himself, “I got good work done for the Lord and He’s pleased. What, me worry? ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta’ wear shades!’”

But God had more to say; He actually spent more time instructing and warning Solomon about potential dangers to come. “As for you, walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules.” David, although not perfect, was “a man after God’s own heart.” God was calling Solomon to be the same, not stray or wander to the right or left. Guard his heart. “Do everything I’ve commanded you.” Obedience fuels worship and worship fuels obedience.

And then the warning: “But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins.” There are serious repercussions if you go astray. What is the cost of disobedience, backsliding, and apostasy, abandoning God to worship and serve other gods? “Cut off, cast out, a proverb, a byword, a heap of ruins.” Not the place where you want to end up in the end.

Isn’t it interesting that God spent more time instructing and warning Solomon rather than speaking positively? How true this is for us as well. We think too much of ourselves, too positive, with no cares in the world, “I’m cool, everything’s cool.” Our hearts are deceitful, we do what is right in our own eyes, we don’t listen or obey well. It is God’s loving grace to repeatedly instruct and warn us. When will we listen? Do we think about the consequences of our actions, the life we are building, the legacy we are leaving? How is your obedience? Are you guarding your heart? What will be the results and consequences of your actions? Consider your life lived, the legacy you leave, what you’re building, and what guides you.

Pee Wee’s life here is over. As far as I know, he didn’t know the Lord. Some of his last words include a request for “remembrance made for his deceased father”, which is a very Jewish custom. It’s too late for Pee Wee but not you: today is the day to know the Lord and be saved through Jesus. “There’s no other name under heaven by which you can be saved.” And there’s no other name under heaven you must obey. No one can obey perfectly, but the blood of Jesus washes away your sin. Think carefully about how you live and the legacy you are leaving.