“When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ – 1 Kings 2:1-4.
The life you live is the legacy you leave. There are many people who’s legacy will impact our lives, and more often than not, these great influences have no idea of the depth their impact has had upon us. We too have an opportunity to deeply impact others, to live a life that lasts. The question is whether we are pursuing or are we fleeing from our legacy. Each day is an opportunity to develop our story, to define our legacy, and to live our passion. We start asking questions like “what do I want my children to remember about me?” Or “when I am gone, what do I want people to say about my life as a Christian?”
An interesting passage on this subject is found in 1 Kings 2:1-4. In this passage, King David is about to die. He is handing the kingdom over to his son Solomon. David is about to tell Solomon how to live a life that is worth living. This is an interesting passage for many reasons. For one, this is not the typical story we talk about when it comes to David. We talk about his days as a shepherd boy and we talk about his battle with Goliath. We talk about his friendship with Jonathan, his conflict with his son Absalom and his sin with Bathsheba. But, we rarely talk about the end of his life. That is unfortunate, because I think there is a lot that we can take away from this passage on the subject of legacy.
Most think people who leave a legacy are those above approach, those who have been able to rise above the problems that plague the rest of us. David, however, did not model perfection in his life. David sinned, but when he did, he always returned to God. We see in 1 Kings 2:2 that David tells his son to be strong, and by strong he meant a total reliance and dependence on God. In other words, we are made strong through our weakness.
David also tells Solomon to observe what the Lord requires by keeping His law. Memorizing Scripture is an admirable task, but it is more than checking off a spiritual checklist. Once we memorize the scripture, it is time to apply it to our lives so that we might grow as a model of consistency. David closes his final talk with his son by reminding him that if he does all of these things, he will prosper and all of his descendants after him will have a legacy of consistent faithfulness to the Lord.
That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Leaving those that come behind me a model of consistent, if not perfect, service to our Lord. I would want people to say that I loved Jesus more than anything else on earth, and because I did, I was able to love my wife, children, family, friends, even strangers more completely. Life is such a series of short interactions with people, and for some, I’m the only glimpse of Jesus that they will ever see. That tells me that I need to make my short moments count with all people. That’s how you build a legacy that lasts.
- Is there someone who has inspired you through their legacy?
- What would you list as the characteristics of a lasting legacy?
- Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8: Spend a few minutes thinking about the legacy you would like to leave. How does that compare to Paul’s desired legacy expressed in this passage of scripture?
- What type of legacy will the current choices and priorities of your life lead to?
- What are some changes that need to take place today to move you back toward a legacy of faithful service to God?