Opening Day Cast Members: Your Heritage and Legacy
In his book How to be Like Walt (a book I highly recommend), Pat Williams recounts this address from Walt Disney to the Opening Day Disneyland Cast Members, given shortly before the park opened:
To make the dream of Disneyland come true took the combined skills and talents of artisans, carpenters, engineers, scientists and planners. The dream they built now becomes your heritage. It is you who will make Disneyland truly a magic kingdom and a happy place for the millions of guests who will visit us now and in future years. In creating happiness for our guests, I hope that you will find happiness in your work and in being an important part of Disneyland.(page 207)
Stirring, isn’t it? The Cast Members who worked on Opening Day–and every single one of the many thousands who have worked there since–were not the first. Disneyland isn’t something that started and ends with them. They are entrusted with the work of those who came before, and they will leave their work as a legacy to those who will come after them. Their jobs are part of a rich tradition and help to shape what the future will look like.
As modern-day Christians, we have a similar role and responsibility in the Kingdom of God.
In the middle of Hebrews 11, the “Faith Chapter”, the writer says of those “heroes of the faith” he’s been describing,
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
And at the end of the chapter he says,
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Those who came before Christ were looking ahead to the day of the fulfillment of the promise of the coming Messiah–the “Opening Day” of God’s kingdom. All who have come since that time, including us, now have a responsibility not only to God, but to them. They are our “great cloud of witnesses.”
Today is not all there is in our faith. There is history, tradition, experience, and learning that comes from them. The more we focus on “just Jesus and me” and forget (intentionally or otherwise) our spiritual heritage, the less rich, deep, and significant our lives in Christ are. We build on what came before, and those who come after us will build on what we say and do–all of it built on the Chief Cornerstone. which is Jesus Christ.
You are part of God’s family. You have a relationship with Jesus. But you are also part of a spiritual tradition and legacy that stretches back thousands of years. Don’t overvalue one part of that at the expense of the others.
Question: Are you aware of the significance and the significant events of your spiritual heritage? How are you continuing the work they began and how are you leaving a legacy for future generations? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.