A Lasting Legacy
What Will Be Your Legacy
It amazes me how many people in this world fritter their lives away. For example, by the time the average American dies he or she will have watched around nine years of television. I wonder how many of those same people will wish that they had 9 more years to live when they find out they are near the end?
The truth is that we were all created by God for a purpose. None of us is here by accident. And we cannot find ultimate fulfillment in life unless we are living out our God-designed purpose. Our lives should be an example of what it truly means to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As Christians we should do our best to leave a legacy of faith for our posterity to follow.
I. What is a Legacy?
There can be more than one kind of legacy, for the word means “something received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past” (Webster). In legal terms, this could include things such as money or property. However, it also means how someone is remembered, and what contributions they made while they were alive.
One of the greatest legacies that a person can leave is a Spiritual legacy. A person like this is one to which God will truly say some day: "Well done thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21). This is the type of person that can truly say, like the Apostle Paul: "Follow me as I follow Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1).
With that in mind, let us look at what a person who leaves a good spiritual legacy looks like.
II. The Portrait of a Legacy Builder
When we think of the billions of people who are or have inhabited this planet, it is sad how few will lead lives worth emulating. Most, I dare say, will leave this earth without giving a moments thought as to what their actions will do to leave this planet, and especially the people on this planet, better for their having been here. But the truth is, we are our brother's keeper. It is our responsibility to set an example for those who are coming after us. We must light a path for them to follow. That is especially true in the spiritual realm. We must blaze a trail that they can and should choose to follow.
A. One Who Has Priorities Straight
It is so tempting in this world to seek the things that money can buy. Wealth can buy comfort and ease, and what many would call the "good life." It is also tempting to try to get to the top in order to have a place of prestige and honor. While there is nothing particularly bad about money, or even fame and honor, they should never be sought out for their own sake.
People who leave a legacy put priorities in order. They seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness. Whatever they do is done to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ.
These people also see the family that the Lord gave them as their top priority and ministry. The family never gets neglected for any other thing in life. A person who seeks to be a spiritual leader must first lead in their own home.
And finally, people who leave a legacy always put people over things. God and people are the only two things in this universe that are eternal. All else will pass away. We all need to live life accordingly.
B. A Person Of Prayer and Bible Study
Anyone who seeks to leave their spiritual mark on this world can never do so unless they are people who follow the Word of God and are people of prayer. It is impossible to develop the character necessary to leave any kind of legacy without being close to God. The Bible is God speaking to us. And prayer is us speaking to God, and allowing His Spirit to communicate with us as well. These are essential disciplines to develop if we want to make a difference.
C. One Who Finishes Well
There are so many who begin things in life with all good intentions. But because of various reasons, they don't finish. Whether it be a marriage, a business or a commitment to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, we have many more beginners than completers.
The same is true in the spiritual life. So many start out with great intentions of living a godly life and making a difference in the world, but end up being saved, "yet so as by fire." Their lives end up with more wood, hay and stubble than gold, silver and precious stones.
A legacy-builder is one who finishes well. He, or she is a person who remains faithful their whole life, despite trials and tribulations. In fact, the trials and tribulations make them stronger in faith and cause them to be more determined to lead a life that matters.
By all of this I don't mean that a person worth following is perfect. All of those in the past have been far from perfect if we got to know them. However, they were consistent. They were quick to admit a sin and turn from it. And they could be counted on to do the right thing more often than not.
This generation of people in which we live is dying for a lack of godly examples. We who are Christians need to be concerned about what will happen after we're gone. God has placed us on this earth for such a short time compared to eternity. And the reason we're still here is that He isn't finished with us yet. We can still leave a godly legacy upon which our children and our children's children can build. It's not too late. Let us begin today!