This past week a friend of mine lost her father. It was a rough week of planning for her. If you have ever had to do this, you know that it's a emotional rollercoaster, attending to all the decisions that go into laying a loved one to rest. She, her brother and sister did a beautiful job and each of them even got up and spoke at the service. I recall my friend saying "it was a must" they just had to honor their Dad. They put aside their grief and found the strength to talk about the man he was. Their Dad was not only honored by this but I am faithful that he was very proud of he's children yesterday. I pictured him up in heaven saying to one of the saints "those are MY kids" as he was smiling down on us all.
I've been asking myself "what do I hope that someone will say about me at my funeral and what are the things I need to change in my life today to make all of those statements true?
~Albert Mohler said "You are an ancestor to someone yet to come. If you live your life knowing you are an ancestor, that will change the way you make your decisions, the way you live your life the way you love those around you"
~Neil Postman wrote in The Disappearance of Childhood "Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."
To leave a godly legacy requires us putting a stake in the ground. We must think about the impact of our lives on future generations. Rather than each of us having ourselves at the center of our thinking we need to live and understand that love is not a feeling, it's a commitment to those around us and to those we will someday leave. To leave a legacy we need to commit to doing something about our world. Many people (myself included) are walking the middle of the road, we are so focused on what other people think that we are not willing to take any risks to make an impact on the communities in which we live.
~John F. Kennedy, wrote in Profiles in Courage "some men show courage throughout the whole of their lives. Others sail with the wind until the decisive moment when their conscience and events propel them into the center of the storm"
If we want to leave a lasting legacy, we need to act with courage to reach out to those in need. We may be caring for those we are responsible for now but think of it this way (I'm asking myself the same question) are you giving your children a sense of purpose, direction and even a mission? Yes, I don't have my own kids, however I strive to influence whenever possible and have never thought of this before I read it... "The challenge is to leave your children a heritage, not just an inheritance." That I found very inspiring.
I found this on Familylife.com
~A husband and wife who walked by faith and, consequently, left a legacy far beyond anything they could have imagined, lived in the early 1700s in colonial America. Their names were Jonathan and Sarah Edwards.
Jonathan Edwards felt God's call to become a minister. He and his young bride began a small congregation. During the years that followed, he wrote many sermons, prayers, and books, and was influential in beginning the Great Awakening. Together they raised eleven children. Sarah was a partner in her husband's ministry, and he sought her advice regarding sermons and church matters. They spent time talking about these things together, and when their children were old enough the parents included them in the discussions.
The effects of the Edwards's lives have been far-reaching, but the most measurable results of their faithfulness it God's call is found through their descendants. Elizabeth Dodds records a study done by A. E. Winship in 1900 in which he lists a few of the accomplishments of the 1,400 Edwards descendants he was able to find:
100 lawyers and a dean of law school
80 holders of public office
66 physicians and a dean of a medical school
13 college presidents
3 mayors of large cities
3 governors of states
3 United States senators
1 controller of the United States Treasury
1 Vice President of the United States
~Steven J. Lawson wrote in The Legacy "Every man leaves a lasting influence that will affect future generations for centuries to come. Not all legacies are the same. What kind of a legacy will you leave behind? A spiritual legacy is one that money can't buy and taxes can't take away. A spiritual legacy is passing down to the next generation what matters most."
What do you want to leave your loved ones? Buildings, money and possessions or a lasting legacy. I know I have a lot of work to do if I want to leave behind more than tangible items. Something more impressionable, something more eternal.
Our prayer for this week: that we live today for what we want to leave others someday. In Jesus name we pray ~Amen.