A living legacy, a light to the world

As we begin our Legacy series – we thought it would be great to hear from one of our own Tweed Coast Church living legends, Emma Tabacaru, about living a legacy for the next generation. Emma has worked with teenagers in schools for many years in a chaplain role and is currently working at Kingscliff High School.

It’s an Aussie summer evening and as you sit out on your back porch, you flick the old fluorescent light on which inevitably cuts your evening short as swarms of critters, moths, midges’ and mossies invade. This behaviour, called transverse orientation means that most insects navigate by flying at a constant distance from a source of light – and hence are drawn to any light. Being a living legacy for the next generation is as simple and profound as this: flicking on the light.

As a high-school teacher and chaplain, I have often found myself overwhelmed with sadness at the darkness, brokenness and loss of purpose that consumes so many youth. As much as we all like to say “it was the same when I was growing up”, things have indeed changed. With information at their fingertips, social media demanding every spare second, an often unstable home and volatile global environment – it is more difficult than ever for youth to navigate their way. But they, I believe, like insects, and like most of us – are drawn towards light.

Being a living legacy for the next generation can seem like a naïve, childish dream when the mundane routine of our day to day lives is the reality most of us live in. The age old beauty pageant line “I want world peace” echoes in my ears sarcastically as I write this. But as community members, as mothers and fathers, as grandparents, as relatives or whatever your role might be; but most importantly, as followers of Christ – we are called to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

As Martin Luther King famously wrote “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that”. Being a living legacy is doing your everyday in a way that brings light to every conversation, every relationship, situation and environment that you may find yourself in. When we allow the light within us, Jesus, to shine in the everyday it acts as a beacon of hope for the lost, for the confused and the weary.

It allows our youth to have a point in which to navigate their lives. It means no matter how far they might stray, at some point, the attractiveness of the light of our Saviour that shines from each of our lives will draw them home.

How do we flick the light on in our own life? How do we ensure that we are a living legacy for the next generation?

  1. We do everything in love. To paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, our works are nothing if we do not have love. Continue to check your heart and ask yourself: ‘where is this action coming from? Am I expecting things in return or doing this out of spite?’ People always remember the way you make them feel and people are (whether they admit it or not) curious and attracted to the true, unconditional, arms-wide-open love of our Heavenly Father.
  2. Be courageous in speaking the word of God over the next generation. Isaiah 55:11 states that Gods word never returns empty, but rather it will accomplish and achieve the purpose in which it is sent. You may never see the fruit of your words spoken even in your lifetime, but God promises to deliver on them. One of my favourite quotes of all time is this ‘a society grows great, when the men and women plant trees that they know they will never sit in the shade of’. You don’t even need to plant trees, you just need to speak the word of God over the next generation and our Mighty Father promises to do the rest.
  3. Be strong in faith and character. Ask yourself: ‘how do I handle success and failure in my life? Does who I am in private, match up with who I am in public? What part of my character needs fine-tuning?’ Pray about these things, ask God to make you more like Jesus and I know you will hear all too clearly the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your life.

The children and youth of your world and this community may not seem like they are listening – but I can guarantee you they are watching. Watching for a light.