What comes to mind? One might be reminded of a person, an organization or personal goal for one’s life. Legacy is defined as something or someone leaving something to be remembered by or from. Legacy can be long-term and short-term spans. There can be a variety of legacies left behind. What kind of legacy will you leave behind?
Throughout life people leave legacies for their predecessors to learn from. In my life I have quite a few examples of what leaving a legacy is all about. Hopefully in your life you as well have had demonstrations of legacies that have impacted your life. Thankfully I have had positive legacies impact my life. The negative legacies… Let’s just say I learn from them to know what kind of legacy I do not want to leave behind. The first legacy that comes to mind that has impacted my life is my Grandma.
Grandma Willey lived a long life and left behind a legacy for her family and friends to be reminded by. She was an amazing woman of God. My Grandma passed away 10 years ago on a Memorial Day weekend. I was in high school at that time. Her funeral service was a testimony of an awesome legacy. Her life was a legacy. A common phrase heard at her funeral was “I was her favorite.” Grandma made everyone felt like they were her favorite. She cherished relationships. She loved God with all her heart and the Fathers heart was displayed through her life. She was the only grandparent I ever knew. She impacted my life by loving me unconditionally, setting a Godly example, always encouraging me to do my best and never give up on my dreams. Memorial Day weekend has been an annual reminder of the legacy my Grandma. Friends can leave a legacy so strong that it changes your life/personality.
In recent years I have two friends that impacted my life greatly. John Weber and Mike White. Before I met these guys my life could be summed up as a mediocre life. I had a lot of good things going on. I was pretty involved with my church, going to college and working part-time. Just six months prior to meeting John I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior (those details will come in a later post). Meeting John was a divine appointment. Both of us were hungry for more of God at the same point in our lives. John became a brother to me. Not too long after John and I became friends, Mike joined us. The three of us persued hard after God. They became the example of a legacy of brotherly love. The atmosphere of our friendship changed my personality and ultimately my life. I would not be where or who I am if it were not for those amazing friends. The last two years both of them have been at Bethel School of Ministry in Redding, Ca. They have visited a few times and each time it was like we have not missed a beat.
Each mile stone of my life; a legacy is resting on that marker. Justin and Becky Piazza left a legacy of how to invest in someone’s life. My wife Christen teaches me God’s love for the bride. My Dad has a legacy of obeying God in His calling on his life. My Mom has a legacy of patience (raising me a living testimony of patience). Many other people can be mentioned and I’m thankful for influential legacies I’ve experienced.
Unfortunately there are some people who will not leave behind a positive legacy. From those we can only learn from. Currently I am employed with lawn Care Company. There is constant contact with a variety of people. For the sake of this point I am going to concentrate on the ones who do not show the character traits of someone who will leave a good legacy. If you have worked in any type of customer service job I am sure you have had your fair share of “complainers.” On a weekly basis my crew comes across the ones who are never pleased or happy about anything. They always have something negative, critical or unsatisfactory remarks to say. Pretty much a pain in the you know what to deal with. I am aware that there are those sorts of people of all ages. But to be honest and blunt, it is the elderly who we have to most problems with (that being said with respect). I am sure they have their reasons for their ways. But it still leaves me somewhat troubled. No offense to whom I am speaking of…but my reaction is that I do not wish that when I grow to be considered “elderly” to be like them. I don’t want to be characterized as a complainer, typical old fart or a grumpy old man. When I become a senior citizen I want younger and older people to look up at me. I want to be one that has wisdom to share, uses what time he has left on Earth to be productive and to disciple/mentor younger men to be Disciples of Christ. I want to leave a Godly legacy.
We return to one of my original questions. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? It’s more than what one liner you want written on your tombstone. It’s more than looking in the past. It’s more than the legacies written in history. It’s about YOUR legacy. Your legacy has an impact on the people not only when you die. But also with people you are connected to and pass by each day. Yes I want to pass on a legacy when I die. But I don’t know when that day will come. I mentioned milestones of legacies from my life earlier. Each legacy is a piece of the puzzle to which will form the legacy I leave when I die. It’s about leaving a legacy transcribed on the heart of people in your life. So that when you have your Memorial Service (like my Grandma) everyone will be able to speak of impact you had in their lives.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 gives a great example of working on leaving a legacy. Its says “ 24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
Athletes are a great example of hard work, contend for a prize and leaving a legacy. Take football for instance. At the end of the season there are many prizes to be sought after. Some are for individuals and some for teams. But they have one thing in common. They go down in history and are remembered for the achievements left behind.
I hope this message will be encouraging to you. God has pressed this message on my heart and He wanted me to share this with you. God is at work and He wants and needs us to make an impact for His Kingdom. Christ loves us so much. He wants that love to be poured out through His children. So I challenge, bid and send you to make a difference in someone’s life. Be the legacy that God wants out of You so the ultimate Legacy can be glorified.