Contribution and Legacy

As I was listening to the latest Mortification of Spin podcast yesterday, something struck me a little different. Carl asked about Thomas Oden’s contribution and legacy and we answered appropriately. But this time as he was asking that question, I thought about something else.
I think an important part of Oden’s legacy is hinted at in the title of the book. He explains, “One reason for writing A Change of Heart is in part to alert people to question the realism of my collectivist and unexamined illusions. Those who test them critically will be less likely to be hurt by them or hurt others. The wrongs I failed to recognize in my youth had ripple effects that I will never completely know, but on the last day I will be accountable for them” (56).
Contrition. That is a huge legacy to leave behind in our evangelical culture. In an environment filled with leaders and influencers who boast in having no regrets, admitting culpability is a refreshing and needed contribution. Oden had led people the wrong way. His sorrow over this and his passion to point people to the truth is evident throughout every page of his memoir. He is less concerned about what people think about him, and more concerned with what people know about Christ.
Consequently, that is the real legacy Oden leaves. A Change of Heart shows us the fruit of repentance. And that is a beautiful thing. Thinking about Oden’s contribution and legacy motivates me to reexamine what contribution I will leave behind. 
My old pastor said something years ago that I have tucked away. He was preaching on Philippians 1:25-26, where Paul concludes that the Lord would have him live longer to help others rejoice in Christ. My pastor mentioned how one of the most beautiful things for a Christian to hear from a loved one upon their death would be, “It’s been an honor knowing Christ through you.” We may not all be as influential as Thomas Oden, but we all leave a legacy. I don’t want to lead others to be satisfied in me, I want to point them to Christ. I pray that I will be more zealous for the truth than being right.
False teaching points away from Christ and toward ourselves. May we follow Oden’s lead in expressing sorrow whenever we lead others away from Christ. May our contribution be to cause others to rejoice in Christ, that it would be a pleasure for our friends to know Christ through us. That is a legacy worth leaving.