“’…For I know the plans I have for you,‘ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
When you think of your legacy to those you’ll one day leave behind, how do you envision that “gift?” An inheritance that may be used for someone’s education? A share of a company that you’ve slaved to create and expand? A vacation home on the beach or in the woods? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “legacy” as: “Inheritance, bequest; something that has come from an ancestor or predecessor or the past.”
Whatever you see when you think about your legacy, please understand it involves far more than dollars and cents. Juliet Funt wrote: “Legacy is a story about you that is yet to be written, but for which you hold the pen.”
When you die and those you leave behind read the story of your life, what will they see? What will be the “theme song” of your life? Will it be Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way?” Or might it be Glen Campbell’s song: “Turn Around, Look At Me?” Whatever the theme of your life, know this, it is being written every day you’re alive.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:25-26: “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
Who or what you love will be your greatest legacy. If you think about it, Jesus left no one any money from His 33-year life on earth, but He left an amazing legacy of love for His Father, for those who were and are His faithful followers, and for those for whom He died, who would one day believe, confess, and place their trust for eternal life in Him.
What will your legacy reveal? When the pages of your life are put on display, who or what will be the predominant subject of your affection? Will it be Jesus or someone or something else? What do you want it to be? And if you’re struggling to answer, let me give you a few suggestions as to where you might want to look.
Check out your calendar and your checkbook. Where do you spend your time? On what do you spend your money? You can declare from the rooftops how much you love Jesus, but if it doesn’t cost you anything, in terms of time and money, you’re blowing smoke.
Jesus said, “I love you,” then He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross to prove it. The proof is in the proverbial “pudding.” It’s not what we want to happen with our lives, it’s largely what we’re making happen through disciplined effort. If we want Jesus to reign preeminent in and through our lives, we must put forth the effort to keep Him first in how we think, speak, and live.
Yes, of course, Jesus will live in and through us and we’re certainly not “working” to earn our salvation, but to believe we can follow Jesus and it not cost us anything, is to ignore the legacy of His life or the message of His instruction to those who would pick up their cross and follow Him.
Your legacy is in your hands. What you want people to receive from the sum total of your life is what you’re doing with your life today, tomorrow, and the next day, until you close your eyes for the last time. After all, remember, the pen is in your hand!
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊