What type of legacy are you leaving? What will be passed on after you are gone? How will you be remembered?
This probably seems like a morbid conversation, and often one we don’t like thinking about, but it is an important question to ponder. No one ever arrives at a final destination without first setting a course toward the destination. If you want to accomplish something in life, you must actively work toward that accomplishment, otherwise you will never reach your goal. It’s important to know the end, even while you are still at the beginning.
Most people want to leave a positive legacy that lives on after them. I want my wife and children to know that they are dearly loved and that faith is important. I want them to know that I tried my best to live a life that honored God in every aspect. I want them to know I was forgiving, I was generous, and I was just. I want them to know that I loved God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and that I loved my neighbors as myself. Because of that, what I’m doing now matters. The life I’m living now and the choices I’m making are vital to producing a positive future. If I want to leave a positive legacy, I need to make sure the choices I am making today will help create that reality, not take it away.
For instance, I want my children to continue in faith even after they move out of my house. As they mature, I want their faith to become their own and for them to embody that faith in life transforming ways. I’m aware that their faith may end up looking different from mine, and I’m alright with that. They don’t have to live out faith the exact same way I do, but I do want them to be passionate about their faith. That means that my parenting decisions now need to point them toward that reality. If I want them to be passionate about their faith they need to see that I’m passionate about my faith. They need to see me reading the Bible and spending time in prayer. They need to see me active in a local church, and spending time in service for others. They need to see me visiting the sick and taking meals to the hungry. They need to see that faith is important to me in order to build a strong foundation of faith for them.
They also need to know that faith is important for our family. For instance, do I make church fit my lifestyle or my lifestyle fit church? Do we fit our extracurricular activities around church, or do we skip positive experiences with other Christians to travel for another baseball tournament or another trip to the beach? Do my children see me come home from work and declare I’m just too tired to attend another church function, or do they see me involved in bible study and prayer? This isn’t about keeping perfect attendance or checking off our list of things to do. God doesn’t save us because we attend church regularly, and I never want to go back to an attitude of guilt induced obedience. But we must remember, our children our watching. Our children are following our example. Our children will not make faith or church a priority if we fail to make faith or church a priority. We shouldn’t question why they don’t have faith in college if we’ve shown them their whole lives that sports, homework, or relaxation are really what is most important. Again I understand faith is much bigger than attending church services or religious practices. But children, especially those who still see the world through concrete understandings have no other way to interpret faith than through what they see and participate in. And the overriding question is legacy. What type of legacy are you leaving for your children? What type of legacy are you leaving for the world? What is most important in your life? Are the decisions you are making today leading toward the positive legacy you are hoping to obtain?
What is your legacy? It’s not something we want to think about on a daily basis. It often gets overshadowed by just making it through each and every day. But it’s an important question. Are you living today in a way that will ensure the legacy you are hoping to pass on to others? If the answer is no, it’s time to make some changes, before it’s too late.