Joe Paterno was arguable the greatest college football coach of our time. He was not only a winner, he had longevity. He coached Penn State for 46 seasons the most of any major college program. He recorded 409 wins and coached five undefeated teams. More importantly, he was known for his impeccable integrity. Sadly, last year it was discovered one of his former assistant coaches was involved in a scandal involving child sexual abuse. Rightly or wrongly, Joe was fired mid-season ending his hall of fame career. To make matters worse, he soon discovered he had lung cancer and on January 22 of this year, he suddenly died. His legacy damaged by a the misdeeds of a trusted assistant.
Moses saw his legacy threatened by the misdeeds of ten trusted assistants. These were people he chose to spy out the Promise Land. After an illustrious career, Moses saw his dream of taking Israel to the Promise Land threatened by these jokers who were content to die in the wilderness. Moses wrote a song during this dark period of leadership.
It’s the oldest song in the hymnal-Psalm 90. I suppose it is included at this point in our Bible reading because we are right in the middle of the Moses story. Moses worst nightmare would be living a wilderness existence when his destiny was to lead his people to their Promise. In other words, Moses dreaded the thought of living a life that didn’t count.
In the Psalm, God’s eternal nature is contrasted to the frailty of humans. It is only God that can make our lives matter. Moses didn’t want Israel’s faithlessness to be his legacy. His cry is summed up in the last line “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.”
I am living a blessed life. I have three wonderful children that love God and are committed to serving Jesus. I have witnessed miracles of Biblical proportions in the wonderful church I pastor. Like Moses, however, I am keenly aware of how fragile my legacy is. There are forces out there that will try to destroy our work. It may be other people or it may be our own sin. Fortunately, God’s grace is greater than our failures and our future is not in the hands of the faithless. We are the children of God.
Maybe you are at a point in your life when you feel your legacy is being threatened. Get out the old hymnal and sing with Moses, Make my life count!