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Affluent Christian Investor | September 20, 2017

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Your Purpose Legacy

Philosopher in Meditation (Painted by Rembrandt) (1631) {US-PD}

Philosopher in Meditation (Painted by Rembrandt) (1631) {US-PD}

Let’s finish up this week with our purpose lessons from our study of Nehemiah. Last week, we looked at the tendency for enemies to appear when you start to pursue and fulfill purpose. External opposition is serious, but it may not be the most serious obstacle where your purpose is concerned. It is the opposition from within that is often the most crippling. Fear, doubt and anxiety all serve to disable and render you useless where purpose is concerned.  And that is our fifth point in Nehemiah’s PurposeQuest:  Your purpose is bigger than anything you can accomplish by yourself.  We read Nehemiah’s own account of the internal opposition the people faced:

“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ [But I prayed,] ‘Now strengthen my hands’”

– (Nehemiah 6:9).

Nehemiah’s enemies threatened him, and the people who were with him were fearful. Nehemiah recognized what was going on and he prayed for God to strengthen him. When you clarify your purpose, you realize that you can’t fulfill your purpose in your own strength. If you behold the need and then assess your ability, you will probably say to God, “I can’t do this!  I’m not smart or gifted enough. Help me, Lord!”

When I went to Afghanistan in 2003, I said “no” to the invitation three times. I didn’t have the time, money or energy to go, or so I thought. I should have recognized, however, that all those things only proved that it was God’s will for me to go; I faced the internal opposition of fear, doubt and inadequacy. All those simply caused me to trust God all the more. What is it that causes you the greatest fear and doubt? Could that be related to your purpose?


Stephen Covey wrote the classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, he described his second habit as “begin with the end in mind.” To do that, Covey recommended that you write your funeral eulogy today. His reasoning was that you must be doing today what it is that you want to be remembered for tomorrow. And that is the sixth point we can learn from Nehemiah’s life is:  Your purpose is the legacy you want to leave behind.

  • “Remember me with favor, O my God, for all I have done for these people” (Nehemiah 5:19 ).
  • “Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love” (Nehemiah 13:22).
  • “Remember me with favor, O my God” (Nehemiah 13:31).

I want to be remembered as a writer, so I must write books. I want to be a man who was organized, who always had time for people. So I have studied organization and teach time management. Do you get my point?  Nehemiah prayed regularly for God to remember Him. He knew that a legacy had to be more than a statue; he wanted to be remembered as one who did great things for God. Guess what? God heard his prayer, for here we are, 2,500 years later, talking about Nehemiah’s legacy. God did remember him!

So I ask you: What do you want to be remembered for?  What comments do you want people to make at your funeral?  The answers to those questions can provide additional insight into your purpose, for they help you identify what is truly important in your life.


As we finish our Nehemiah profile, let’s look at the points we learned by studying his life:

  1. Most people don’t know their purpose because they don’t ask enough questions.  
  2. Tears often go hand in hand with purpose.
  3. You must be able to state your purpose and goals with clarity and conviction.
  4. You will always face opposition when you seek to fulfill your purpose.
  5. Your purpose is bigger than anything you can accomplish by yourself.
  6. Your purpose is the legacy you want to leave behind.

Those six points give you a lot to think about as you continue your PurposeQuest. Take those points and write down the insights you receive as you meditate on them. Don’t take mental notes; the ink fades too quickly. Instead, keep a purpose notebook or journal and record your thoughts, prayers and insights. Go back and review the lives of Samson and Esther from previous weeks and allow them all to shed light on your own PurposeQuest. As you do, you will develop your own purpose profile that will encourage and help guide others. If I can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to write. Have a great week!


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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