How to Leave a Legacy of Love: Rethinking Success and Productivity

by | Feb 6, 2024 | Faith and Work, Videos

Discover how your everyday job can be a powerful opportunity to love and serve others in this thought-provoking episode. Explore the idea that our greatest contribution to the world is not just the work we do, but the people we love. Learn how to reimagine your day job through a gospel lens and see the ways in which your work can add value to the lives of those around you. Join the conversation on reframing the economy and embracing the call to love your neighbor as yourself.

“Now, this thing we call the economy isn’t just about Wall Street power and greed. That narrative is broken, counterfeit, and a conversation for another day. The economy is, in fact, the marketplace of skills and missionary endeavors. One of my favorite pastors to follow on Twitter, or X, or whatever we’re calling it nowadays, recently shared an interesting twist on life, work, and legacy. It made me pause and reflect. He said, ‘What if our greatest contribution to the world is not the job we do, but the people we love?’ I find that to be a profoundly powerful reframe of how most of us perceive success and productivity.

We encounter this narrative frequently, don’t we? Both in real life and in popular stories, a successful individual reaches the end of their life only to realize that what they once believed mattered holds no eternal value. As I contemplate my own journey, I don’t believe I’ll measure success by the widgets I’ve produced. Rather, I hope to leave behind a legacy of love—within my family, my neighbors, and my coworkers. I suspect many of us share this aspiration. After all, Jesus didn’t proclaim that the world would recognize us by our economic output; instead, he emphasized that they would know us by our love.

The metrics of Kingdom productivity extend far beyond traditional income statements or balance sheets. But could it be that the jobs we do also provide avenues for expressing love? Here at the Stone Table, we often discuss reimagining our work as more than just a means of productivity or earning money. What if our vocations were always intended as mechanisms for loving and serving our neighbors?

Consider the Great Commandment spoken of in the Gospels. When a religious leader asked Jesus about the greatest commandment, he responded, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’ This commandment isn’t confined to our leisure time; it permeates every aspect of our lives, including our daily work.

I firmly believe that your everyday job isn’t merely a secular obligation to endure for survival, with love for neighbors reserved for your spare time. Rather, your job presents a powerful opportunity to honor God and love your neighbor daily. So, how can you reimagine your work through this gospel lens?

The ability to reimagine is crucial. Perhaps you’ve heard the tale of three men working at a construction site. When asked about their tasks, the first simply said, ‘Stacking bricks.’ The second grumbled, ‘Mixing cement.’ But the third, with eyes gleaming, exclaimed, ‘I am building a cathedral!’ How might the gospel renew your imagination so that you, too, see the kingdom impact of your daily work?

We remind our team at our property management company that they’re not merely fixing a furnace or processing paperwork. They’re providing warmth and shelter for fellow human beings. They’re facilitating livelihoods and supporting families. These aren’t just mind games; they’re opportunities for Jesus to reshape our understanding of the marketplace.

The economy, far from being solely about Wall Street power and greed, is the interweaving of human lives, gifts, abilities, energy, creativity, and effort. For Christians, this interweaving manifests as acts of love and service to our neighbors. While some jobs may more readily reveal these connections, I believe that if you pause, pray, and ask the Lord to open your heart and mind, He will reveal ways—big and small—that you can love and serve people through your work.

Colossians 1:19-20 tells us that God, in all His fullness, was pleased to dwell in Christ and reconcile everything to Himself, making peace through Christ’s blood on the cross. The gospel renews, resurrects, and restores God’s original design for everything, including the work of your hands.

So, I affirm that your greatest contribution to the world is indeed the people you love. And I firmly believe that you can love people through your job. Therefore, go forth this week and love people well with your work.”

The Stone Table

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