Leaving a Legacy
Here’s the truth …
At the beginning of each new year, I have the urge to organize and clean. I've been working on organizing and simplifying closets, cupboards, and drawers, much to the dismay of my family! I'm of the opinion that if you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it, while my family is more, “Keep it! We may need that someday!”
Yesterday, I decided to give them a break and began focusing on the photo boxes under my bed. As I started going through them, many sweet memories were brought to my mind. I love remembering my now adult children as little ones just learning to walk, talk, and explore the world around them. I cherish each memory I have of them.
As I got to the bottom of the last box, I found some very old, black and white photographs of my dad as a little boy. In the background you could see his parents and his grandparents. Some of these people I have met; others, I have not, yet I feel as if I know each one intimately by the stories my dad would tell me.
As I continued looking at these photographs, I realized that there was so much more in these pictures than the people. In these photographs, I began to see a legacy—a legacy of men and women who have loved God and His Word and have lived their lives according to Him.
I see men and women who have faced difficult trials and overcome hardships with a smile because each step they walked on this earth, they were following Jesus Christ. I see a dad who, for over 80 years, has remained faithful to God and is continuing to teach his children and grandchildren to do the same.
By definition, the word “legacy” means: an inheritance, a heritage, an heirloom, a footprint. So, this got me thinking. What kind of “footprint” or “heirloom” am I leaving my children and grandchildren? Is it one of godly living, knowledge of Scripture, kindness of speech, a willingness to serve, a thankful heart? Or is it one of worldliness, a critical tongue, or an ungrateful spirit?
One of our jobs, given to us by God, is that we are to be examples. 1 Timothy 4:12 tells us, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (KJV). The word “conversation” means: our conduct, our behavior, the way we act. Is our speech, behavior, and attitudes, leaving a godly example?
Jesus said, in John 13:15, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Jesus gave us the ultimate example and God has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3 KJV).
Am I reading my Bible and learning from God “how” to live? Am I applying what I am learning? You see, God is concerned with every part of us. So, when I'm thinking of what kind of example I am setting, it also encompasses things like work ethic, financial stewardship, homemaking, relationships, and even things like purity, contentment, and thankfulness.
We are a light for the generation following us, those in our own families and even those who are not. As Christians, we are to follow Christ's example and faithfully teach those coming after us.
I cannot talk with my grandparents or great-grandparents today, but their legacy continues to speak to me and influence my life through my parents and those precious photographs I hold in my hand. I am so thankful for a godly heritage that God has given me. My prayer is that I continue this chain, leaving a godly legacy for my children. What kind of legacy are you leaving?