No Regrets: Leave a Lasting Legacy
All of us want to leave a lasting legacy. But are we living in such a way now as to create that legacy when our earthly lives come to an end? If we were given the opportunity to fast forward to our death, looking back over our lives, what sort of person would we want to be? How would we wish we had lived? As followers of Christ, this concept of legacy takes on an even greater degree of importance, as the legacy we leave behind will be reflective of the God we seek to follow and serve. What will those we leave behind think about our God when they consider our legacy? Will they be moved to be in awe of Him? Will they want to know more about Him? Will they see enough of His love displayed in our lives that they’ll want to be loved by Him as well?
Bottom Line: Leave a legacy by building your life on qualities that last.
Something To Talk About:
Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” That’s how I want to live each day. That’s how I will wish I had lived when I die. I want to live a life satisfied with God’s love, a life that displays that love with such joy and vigor, that my legacy will be yet an echo of a life lived in pursuit of God’s glory. Our legacy starts today and will be strengthened by the following:
- Speak with Integrity: Integrity is the basic element of Christian character. It is the trait that distinguishes God’a leadership in our lives. Psalm 78:72 says, “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart with skillful hands he led them.” Integrity is not determined by circumstances, based on credentials and is not to be confused with reputation. It is how we live in accordance with God’s standards and that includes what we say and what we do. Psalm 15:2 says, “The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart.” People with integrity tell the truth, keep their word, and practice what they believe. There is a consistency among a person with integrity when it comes to values, words and actions. If we are persons of character and integrity, we have the opportunity to add value to the lives of others first and foremost by our personal example. When you have integrity, your legacy will include things such as being truthful, loving, trustworthy, and generous. “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely.” (Proverbs 10:9)
- Serve with intensity: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11) The word “fervor” here literally means “to be extremely hot; to boil.” Now that is intensity. All too many times, we’ve seen actors star in top-grossing movies and generally be on top of the world, and the next second, he or she’s faded into obscurity never to be seen again. Achievements vanish, awards tarnish and fame is fleeting. But contributing to a great cause and a greater purpose is not. Giving your life away to something greater than yourself is a legacy foundation. The people who have left a legacy in your life are the people who have served you in love. This is one of the many ways we can let others see and know that Jesus lives in us and that we have made Him Lord of our lives. Christianity is not just talk and an emotion; it provokes us to action. When we love God, we will serve others just as He taught us and showed us by example. So how do you want to be remembered? For your fervor, for your passion and intensity, or for things that are here today and gone tomorrow.
- Live with conviction: Everyone lives a life of conviction. Whatever we give our greatest time, our greatest energies, and our greatest resources to is a good indication of where our convictions lie. Our convictions determine our conduct. In order to impact our communities for Jesus Christ, we must live by the convictions God gives us, not our preferences. What do I like, and want, and choose are personal preferences. Preferences are often based on the mood you are in. They become rules, based on someone’s convictions that were really just preferences that tend to unravel when trouble brews and the cost of maintaining the preference becomes too high. In a conviction, it doesn’t matter what mood you’re in nor what the conditions are. You have already made the decision to live the way God says to live. A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside. 1 John 2:17 says, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
- What is legacy? Why do people want to leave a legacy?
- How would you define or explain integrity to someone who does not understand it? What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you without integrity?
- Read 1 Peter 4:10-11: What do these verses say about serving?
- Read Romans 7:7-13: What may be the reason why people lack personal conviction of sin according to this passage?
- How do you build Biblical convictions?
- What is the lasting legacy you want to leave behind? How can we invest our lives intentionally this week in the lives of others?
Take One Thing Home with You
As we get older, we tend to think more and more about legacy. 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?”
There is an interesting passage of scripture in 1 Kings. In 1 Kings 2:1-4, 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. While we talk about David regularly, we rarely talk about the end of his life. David didn’t model perfection in his life, but he did model consistency. David sinned, but he always returned to the Lord. David closes his final talk with his son by reminding him that if he does all of the things he listed, 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 us is a model of consistency 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, and even strangers more completely. I would like people to say that I was consistent in my faith. 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.