Pastor Chris shares for the last sermon of The River Church wrapping up our Book of Judges series. The end of Judges comes to a horrific crash, burn, explosion, ball of fire that would rival any Hollywood movie set. We would have hoped for a beautiful “happily-ever-after” but we get the complete opposite.
But the book of Judges is not short on lesson for us to learn and way we can apply this scripture to our lives even thousands of years later. There were good judges. Those who chose to do what God wanted them to do like Deborah and even Gideon (at first). However there were also really bad judges and others somewhere in between. Some were given large portions of scripture with multiple chapters of their story. But others were given just a single verse.
Tola son of Push was given just that. One single verse for his mark in history. Judges 10:2, “He judged Israel for twenty-three year. When he died he was buried in Shamir.” 23 year legacy boiled down to 15 words. That is it. He must have been half decent or he wouldn’t have been able to lead Israel for that many years. But this is Tola’s legacy. And if you were to ask me if I wanted Tola’ legacy or the one of the Levite that we read about in the end of Judges. You better believe that I am taking the 1 verse legacy.
Leaving a legacy has been on my heart this past few weeks. The River Church all started back before 2000 as a vision, a hope, a calling, a shot in the dark on the heart of our founding Pastor Jim Bogear. There was an overwhelming burden for the lost as Jim looked out seeing miles and miles of rice fields. Knowing that one day would become a community on the outskirts of Northern Sacramento and downtown. There was a passion and desire for all who moved to this area to come to a love and saving relationship with Jesus Christ. To overwhelm a community with the Love of God sharing this amazing gift from the cross.
Jesus tells us in Mark 12:28-31 , “One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: ‘Which is most important of all the commandments?’ Jesus said, ‘The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.'”
This is where we get Loving God and Loving Others as our core vision and mission. And even before that: Go, Grow, Give and Catching the Current of Christ’s love through Making and Maturing disciples. Community. Celebration. Commitment. Commission. Calling. This is what the River Church has been about. This is the legacy of TRC.
What is your legacy doing to be? Is it going to be similar to what we have learned in this strange and unreal at times book of Judges? As Judges 21:25 tells us, “All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” This was their core issue and struggle for the Jewish nation during this time. Perfectly summed up in the final verse of the book. One of doing whatever seems right in your own eyes? Or one of Mark 12 in Loving God first and foremost and loving others? This is what we have to answer.
Are you going to continue to live and lead the legacy of that which the River Church first stated on over 20 years ago that Jesus has given each of us? The River Church will never fade away but rather live on in our lives and the lives that we love. The ultimate purpose. The ultimate calling. This is the ultimate legacy.