Thursday, August 9, 2012

will you leave a legacy that matters?


Webster’s dictionary says that Legacy is something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past

Think about what we will leave the generation of people who come behind us.  What will we leave our children or grand children?  I am not talking about the money or property we may leave them.  I am talking about what they will remember about us.  Legacy speaks to the mark we leave on this world.

What will people remember about you?  What impact will you have made that will far outlive you?  Thinking about others often leads to leaving a legacy that lasts. 

Maybe your name would be written among those whose names appear in Hebrews 11.  This is the chapter known at the “faith hall of fame” and lists for us many people who lived beyond themselves.  Each left a legacy for others to learn from and for people to follow in.  These people were something.  Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rehab and more…

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see…And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Legacy is a forgotten virtue because we have become obsessed with getting ahead, gaining possessions and being selfish.  Have you notice anything about the people mentioned in Hebrews 11?  They left a mark for others to see.  What they did and how they lived made a difference and left a mark for others.  They knew that living life to please yourself is worthless and empty.

Living life to serve others and to please God is what will give us legacy.  Oh, there are people who have left great legacies who didn’t know God.  They left large sums of money to great causes, they served the poor and hurting people of the world and they did things that touched lives.

But let me suggest that people of faith can leave a greater legacy than others.  Because we have the promise of salvation and heaven, we can and must leave a legacy that others see and people will be drawn to God.

Live beyond yourself today.  When you do that, you will leave a legacy that lives beyond you as a positive word for something or someone greater than you.

The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.

Beyond ourselves.  Maybe that is the best phrase to understand what legacy is.  Live with perspective.  Stop maximizing your weakness and start allowing the strength of God to cover them.  You are a new person, loved by God and destined for greatness.  That is the truth.  Even with the tough times come God is at work.  Believe what God says.

These people look further than today.  They look for tomorrow with excitement and joy.  They aren’t afraid of the future.  They are living to make a difference which makes the future brighter.

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

You can describe these people by what they look at and by what they long for.  But the people these verses talked about lived before Jesus.  They don’t have the perspective we have or even some of the promises and grace that we have come to know.

There is another reason to live life with purpose.  Purpose makes us leave a legacy.  We look further than today.  We look further than just ourselves.  The choices we make and the lives we live can and will impact many other people.  It can be a negative or impact.  You can leave a positive or negative legacy.

God has changed my life, and I believe He has changed your life too.  There is too much to do, too many people we need to bless and too much of life left to live to let fear and sin keep us from a legacy that honors God and serves others.  My prayer is that we will be excited about the future and help others do the same.  Here is a verse that I came across recently that has stuck with me and might help us all leave a legacy in a big way (and it’s not just for the ladies as the verse might suggest):

Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.

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