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It has been more than three months since the passing of Myles Munroe. Since his untimely death, I’ve been writing about my feelings, hurts, and also the lessons we all should learn from his life. In my previous article, I talked about one of his legacies- Dying empty. Since the early 90’s Myles has been feeling he didn’t have enough time to finish his assignment, and because of that he entered into a sense of urgency at the early stage of his life. This enabled him to pour out everything prior to his untimely death. Have you entered into a sense of urgency? Or some how you think you’ve plenty of time ahead of you? This is especially tempting if you’re young and healthy.
My humble advice to those who squander their God-given time is learn from Myles that one day, maybe not far from today, you too may pass away prematurely that take every second you got now in the pursuit of your assignment in life. Be accountable to the God who gave you life, and time that you cannot renew.
If today is gone, it’s gone forever. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, known or obscure, powerful or weak. We all have equal amount of time and how we treat time now determines where we end up. Do you want to end up regretful? Do you anticipate dying unfinished? Do you desire to face the Creator closing the door against you because you weren’t prepared and alerted all the time (Matthew 25:1-13)? This is a wake up call, if you’ve not entered into a sense of urgency yet…
When we study Myles’ life very closely, it is not a big surprise that he died empty. The man maximized every minutes he got. He knew his priorities, and managed his scarce resources like time very wisely. That was why he could be able to die empty. Do you know your purpose in life? Do you know your priorities? Have you allocated your scarce resources including time on those things that are your top priorities? Or you just live by chance, and handle life as it comes on your way without making any effort to shape your life, and future?
There was no way that Myles could be able to finish his race and die empty without successfully managing his time, and investing his scarce resources on those things that mattered the most. I never met a successful and exemplary person that I know who abuses his/her time. However, I met many who waste their time, and without any priority. They’re like a ship without compass. For this kind of ship, every port is its destiny. This is my hope that you’re different. You know where you’re heading, and accountable to your time.
That being said, in this article, I’d like to share with you one more legacy of the man who died empty. It’s about the title of his latest book- Passing it on. In this book, Myles discussed about how the tendency among many leaders is to deal with the question of developing successors as serious circumstances or retirement loom. Myles understood how important this decision is to every leader. Using his book as a wake up call, Myles challenged leaders to take appropriate actions in raising their successors while they can and right now.
Developing successors is urgent because it isn’t an over night task. It takes time, thoughtfulness, observing, mentoring, delegating, training, empowering, and letting go of some authorities.
Myles didn’t just write about this important topic. He practiced and lived it. Since their childhood, Myles invested his time on his kids. He developed them to take care of his businesses and ministries when such a time comes. Not only that, even if his influence reached far beyond the island of Bahamas, Myles never forgot raising successors in his local church. When you closely witness the way his children carried themselves, and how the Ministry continued to function smoothly following his passing, there is no doubt that he did his homework. Have you done your homework like Myles? Have you spent time to raise your successors?
In the middle of this tragedy, the successors of Myles weren’t confused, desperate of what to do, and where to go from there. They picked up the baton, and carried on. This was because, their mentor decided to pass it on while he was still alive. That was why there was neither chaos nor internal fight following this huge gap created by the premature death of Myles Munroe.
Let me quote the now senior pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries David Burrows to show you how ready Myles’ successors been: “We lost our visionary but not our vision, we lost our mentor but not our mandate, we lost our leaders but not our leadership potential. We have cried even as we sharpened our swords and we are ready to continue the vision and preserve the legacy of our leaders as they would have expected us to.”
Let me ask you. If you die today, do you have successors who may stand up and fill the gap and utter such confident statements? Think about for a moment, and look around you. Can you confidently say that your vision and legacy continues if you are called to the Lord tonight? If the answer isn’t a resounding YES, this is a wake up call.
Once you’re convinced that raising your successors is urgent, and need your attention even if you may feel like you don’t have enough time to dedicate on this, let’s briefly talk about how you should develop them. You cannot just select a few successors and expect them to be great successors when you pass away or retire.
While you’re still alive, active, and at the peak of your performance, coach and mentor them. It’s beyond the scope of this article to explain the difference between mentoring and coaching. I let you figure out that if you haven’t yet. However, developing successors doesn’t stop there. You MUST let go some of your authorities and responsibilities. Delegate some of these to your successors. They may not do it the way you do it hundred percent. They may stumble here and there. Use these opportunities to mentor them, and help them grow. You cannot induce growth into your successors without them taking actions, and making some mistakes.
In conclusion, as the saying goes, “A leader without a successor is a failure”. You don’t have control when you would exit this world. You have control only today, and use this opportunity to invest on your successors. Remember, Jesus selected twelve successors in the beginning of His Ministry (Not at the end when His enemies were closing in). He didn’t stop there. He spent time with them, mentored, and trained them for more than three years. He then sent them two by two (Matthew 10). After resurrection, He stayed another 40 days to develop His successors. Look at where Christianity is today. Would that be possible if Jesus, the busiest person on earth that time, hadn’t developed His successors? A big NO! Think about it. If Jesus, who had all kinds of excuses to act alone, spared time to work on His successors, what about you and me who are just mere humans?
Therefore, let’s reserve a little bit of time each day or week to think about our legacy, and invest on our successors. May God give us the courage, wisdom, and humility to be farsighted.
We are already in eternity, and continue to exist in eternity once we phase out of this world trapped by time and space. The question is what would be our legacy once we’re gone?
For our work to continue for generations to come, this is time to develop our successors.