You may not think about it every day, but someday you will leave a legacy. Everything you say, every way you act or react, your affections, and your priorities will all contribute to how people will remember you when you are gone.
Twenty years ago this week my father died unexpectedly. I remember the early morning phone call like it was yesterday. Not something I ever expected or was prepared for. The days following were difficult, but when 1100 people showed up to the funeral home and the church could not fit the number of mourners, the message was very clear to me. Dad had touched thousands of lives in his short life. The words, “a giant oak tree has fallen”, still resonates with me today alluding to his strength of character, noble presence, and the large void he would leave in the lives he had touched.
Dad kept his simple faith (he thought theology was too complicated). He had a personal relationship with Jesus and was not afraid to share his faith. He lived out his faith daily by loving all people he came in contact with at church, work, sports and community. He had a special way of making everyone feel valued.
My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. – 1 John 3:18 (GNT)
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34 (GNT)
I marvel at the amount of people who still talk about him today and the positive impact he had on their life. I want those people to know that my Dad loved on them well because He loved God first.
Dad did not live a perfect life, but he lived a life loving God and loving others and that is the most valuable legacy he has left me. I believe I am reaping the blessings of having a faithful father.
Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in His house, and his righteousness endures forever. – Psalm 112:1-3 (ESV)
I have heard the statement, “the legacy we leave is in the life we lead.” I have found this to be true. The ways my dad imitated our Heavenly Father had a powerful impact in showing me who Jesus is and desiring a relationship with Him. I too want to have an impact on future generations. I don’t want to be remembered only for accomplishments and success but for being a child of God, but a woman of faith who loved and obeyed Christ and loved others.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done. – Psalm 78:4 (ESV)
Christ left the ultimate legacy for His people by living a perfect, sinless life. He died for us while we were sinners. He brought freedom and redemption for everyone now and for all generations to come.
I am constantly learning and growing in my own relationship with Jesus. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I trust in a God who does. Throughout scripture we are called to live by faith.
Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:7 (NLT)
Every individual must make his or her own decisions for Christ. Like an oak tree which is known for its strength, endurance and longevity, there are things I try to do to help create an atmosphere in my own life where faith can thrive and last.
Life is short. To leave a legacy, I believe you have to start living a legacy. When I spend time in communion with God, reading scripture, serving others and trusting God in both good times and bad, I am practicing my faith. There are many times that I fail, but I pray that my children and grandchildren will look back at my life and find faithfulness and fruitfulness, and continue the legacy of knowing Jesus.