Minding My Legacy

Written by Mike Moise.

In a sort of ghastly simplicity, we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.      — C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

We’ve abolished ‘Manhood'. We’ve suffocated and killed it as a society. Toxic masculinity? Yea - that form of manhood can die, along with our misuse of the phrase. But true masculinity is not inherently toxic. And if males are to have any lasting impact at all, ‘Manhood' needs to make its way back onto the scene. It’s an ironic journey though. Because the resurrection of ‘Manhood' requires the death of men.

Start With Dying

They say, if you want to live your best life, you should die first and get it out of the way.

Then, you live for some years in a retirement community - only to get kicked out by your kids and grandkids for being too young.

Then, you throw a retirement party and decide it’s time to go to work.

Then, you career your way through life for decades until you’re young enough to land your first job. 

Then, you go to college and party you somethin' reckless until you’re ready for high school.

Then, you go to grade school, drop all your responsibilities, and become a little boy again.

Then, you relax, slide back in the womb and spend your last nine months floating - carefree.

You then finish your life as nothing more than a gleam in someone’s eye - a dream in someone’s heart.

That is how we ought to live. Backwards. I heard some version of this concept on a John Maxwell podcast, and it just clicked [1]. Maybe it was because I’d been uncharacteristically moved and shaken by the death of rapper Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom (which felt like losing a distant cousin by the way). Or maybe it was the sudden passing of a dear brother of mine, Pastor Anderson St. Louis. But I got it. 

Mind Your Legacy

One day I’m going to die. One day, the last earthly thing I’ll commandeer is a casket. One day, the final four walls that my finite flesh inhabits will be my grave. 

That’s a scary thing. It can even be dreary. But if you embrace the reality of death, you become untouchable. It’ll shape you into a different breed of man. It'll infuse purpose into everything you do and every soul you touch..

When death becomes a means to an end (rather than the end we ignore or the end itself), boys become men. Passiveness becomes foreign land. And indifference, becomes crime.  And I think that’s what this world craves - men who live their lives with the end in mind. Your world hungers for a man who minds his legacy.

Nipsey's death moved me - not because I was a fan or believed in all he stood for - but because his loss demonstrated what this world gains when a man chases manhood. Anderson's death, on the other hand, moved me beyond just our personal relationship. I cried because young men, devoted to serving, are treasures we don’t often come across. 

You see, when young men die - especially black ones, it's often like drowning. Your mind doesn't notice or cry out for the oxygen your lungs desperately need, until it’s gone.

You Are Not an Option

What am I getting at exactly? In an age where we’re jumping to redefine everything, our tears contradict our terms. In Nipsey’s case for example, our lament would suggest that we truly do hunger for manhood, no matter how complex or biblically “off" that view of manhood may be. 

Manhood is a thing y’all. Put it this way, if you’d never seen food in your life, the hunger in your belly would still clue you in to its existence. The pain would lead you to conclude that there’s something missing. Something you need [2]. 

What we need is a recovering of manhood. We need an uprising of men who'll stop at nothing short of turning the world upside down. (Acts 17:6)

When young men die, the mourning of a godless world sheds sun on our need for brothers who impact. Even the world, through its lament, reveals its longing for men who incarnate amongst a people and love them with reckless abandon. 

There is something rare about authentic, servant-minded manhood. And when it's lived out, the world flourishes for generations. As the old proverb goes, society grows when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.

Men are not optional. As image-bearers, they’re ordained.

You Are Ordained

That’s right. Ordained. Men who embrace death become untouchable enough to speak as Apostle Paul did when he declared, “…to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21). We could spend multiple blog posts on this alone. But I’ll say this plainly. Paul is writing from death row and daring his captors to pick their poison - not his! Kill me, and I’ve gained eternity. Spare me, and I’ll convert every last one of your guards (Philippians 1:12-14). If I die, I gain Christ. If I live, I’m shaking this world up. That…is OG. 

Minding one’s legacy means to mind what matters. It's intentionally living for something beyond your lifetime. It’s a choice to live for time horizons that span centuries, rather than a few years. It is to pray for, and make decisions that you know will impact not just your kids, but their kids. 

They say, if you want to live your best life, you should head to the place where skulls reside. You should embrace the Golgotha you were destined for. 

Men. If you want to leave a legacy — if you want to have impact — you should pick up your cross. 

And die.


References:

[1] How to Start Successfully Part 2 - John Maxwell

[2] The Reason for God - Timothy Keller

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