At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. Acts 10:1-2
This is post #19 in a series of posts in a book I have just finished. This will be the second to last post from it. It contains leadership insights from the most victorious team in sports history (winning percentage = 86% as of the writing of the book): The All Blacks, The New Zealand National Rugby Union Team.
“When a player makes the All Blacks, they’re given a book. It’s a small black book, bound in fine leather, and beautiful to hold.
The first page shows a jersey — that of the 1905 Originals, the team that began this long whakapapa [legacy]. On the next page is another jersey, that of the 1924 Invincibles, and on the page after, another jersey, and another, and so on until the present day. It is a visual whakapapa, layered with meaning, a legacy to step into. The next few pages of this All Blacks handbook remind you of the principles, the heroes, the values, the standards, the code of honor, the ethos, the character of the team.
The rest of the pages are blank, waiting to be filled. It’s time to make your mark, they say. Your contribution. It’s time to leave a legacy. Your legacy. It’s your time.”
James Kerr in Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business of Life (London: Constable, 2013) 183.
What will your contribution be? Your legacy? Today’s Scripture reflects the legacy of a mighty Roman soldier. I love the irony. He’s not known for battles or victories but for the faith of his family, his giving, and his prayer life. Make that so of me too, Lord.
Such legacies are only possible if we write them. They don’t happened by accident, they are always informed by the past, they always require courage, and they never come without sacrifice. Take a few minutes on a blank page and write what you want your whakapapa to be. Now map the first step you will take toward it.
Generous contributions are not made on one day but over a lifetime. If you are the first generation to pursue generous living then write ‘Originals’ atop your paper. If you stand on the shoulders of others write ‘Invincibles’ for that is what you are. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
If you have the lineage of the ‘Originals’ and the ‘Invincibles’ then put ‘All Blacks’ atop your page. But, as Richie McCaw, one of the greatest All-Blacks to ever play the game would say, don’t just try to be an ‘All Black’, be a G.A.B., a ‘Great All Black’. This is your time.