This question was stirred within me yesterday as I attended the funeral of a loving, faithful, loyal and Godly gentleman. He had left a legacy of love and faithful devotion to God and others. Together with his wife he raised a family which is grounded in the knowledge of love and worth, unity and wisdom.
We will all leave some form of legacy – what will it speak of our lives? What will it say about what we valued and who we worship, what did we treasure within our heart?
Legacy is defined in the dictionary as, “anything handed down from the past”. What will we hand down to the next generation, what character and values will we instil in those we leave behind, will it be imperishable and eternal?
“…the effects of each human life continue to expand and have consequences, even as a stone thrown in the water leaves concentric ripples that emanate from where it was cast. Our legacy is a reality, and we all have one. Even the baby that dies in infancy has some effect on the family he or she was born into. Something changes with the existence of each human life – and each day we are building a legacy, whether we are aware of it or not, and whether we like it or not. Our personal lives will have ramifications on others…We must ask ourselves whether the world will be a better place because we have lived in it, or a worse place?.” (http://www.pursuingtheword.com/legacy.htm)
“…Your legacy begins in your heart, in your relationship with God. Psalm 112:1-2 reads: “How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.” (http://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/parenting/foundations/godly-legacy/five-essentials-to-leaving-a-legacy-that-will-outlive-you#.VRNLYmeJjiM)
As I listened to people share the memories of this man’s life I learned of his heart, I could see it in the many friends and family who had come to say their last farewell. He lived out his faith in God, he held tight to the grace of his saviour and he truly shone this light into the world, touching many, many lives. Even in the trials he held onto the hope he knew in God. It was quoted that he would say, “Why let go of the light just because it gets dark”.
I reflect on my own life and I am challenged. What influence have I already been in my life, what marks have I already left behind on the lives of my loved ones and those I have met? If I were to die tomorrow would it be, “imperishable and eternal”, for good or for worse?
I know that in my own strength and will I can do nothing of lasting value, it is only as I walk my life in relationship with God that I can grow to share His character with those around me.
Being challenged is a good thing because it stirs us into action, unless we cringe into complacency. I hope to meet this challenge head on and “check-in” to see what my actions and words reflect of what I value and hold dear. Am I building the legacy I desire? Am I truly showing those around me the God I worship through my character, my values, my actions and my words?
I want my children and grandchildren to know that above all else I loved and worshiped God, that I shared with them the hope we find in Him. A hope and grace that is eternal and imperishable. That they would know how much they are loved, and understand their worth because they are God’s children and that they would walk their lives with him towards their unique destiny.
(I dedicate this article to Neil Dow, a faithful servant and loving husband and father)