What's Your Legacy?
When we hear the word legacy, we often think about an individual or family, an organization or company or even a sports franchise. Legacy can mean different things to various people, depending on how they filter life. Legacy is defined by Dictionary.com as "law, gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest. Anything handed down from the past." This definition obviously gives an explanation of legacy from a material perspective. However, we should not overlook the fact that we also pass down a spiritual or moral legacy to those in our respective families and within our spheres of influence.
We have perfect examples of those who have benefited from the material legacy that their fathers, mothers or other family members have amassed and passed on to them. Unfortunately, some of these same family members who have bequeathed riches to their heirs have also made spectacles of their lives, which have all too often been captured in the mainstream media or social media outlets to the embarrassment of their children. This confirms my thinking that money cannot purchase moral integrity. It is a characteristic that we carefully nurture and develop in ourselves and those we are responsible for developing. I am not talking about perfection, because we all are susceptible to moral failures on different levels. However, we do have a responsibility to ensure that we leave more than just material blessings to others in our own sphere of influence.
Why is a Spiritual Legacy Important?
The Bible says in PROVERBS 13:22a (HCSB), “A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren.”
This speaks about a man who ensures that his children and grandchildren have material stability. It also implies that his children are being raised to have a reverence for— and consciousness of —God, which they in turn pass on to their own children. The son, daughter or family member of a wealthy or famous man or woman may obtain advantages from the world's perspective; however, they may never sustain or have the determination or passion to achieve the gain that has been provided for them.
Nurturing and instilling godly moral character in one’s children and grandchildren is a legacy that will also provide them with respect from their peers and open doors that only God can close. It is the most valuable commodity we can provide for those for whom we are responsible. There will be some who will not accept that nurturing, and might even become rebellious as they grow, because of the influence of peers and the world; however, we still are responsible for giving them guidance, whether they accept it or not.
The Bible says in PROVERBS 22:6 (AMP), “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], and even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Our role as responsible men is to train our sons and daughters in the ways of the Lord so that they will be prepared for life's challenges. Even if they lose their focus, we have to develop a biblical foundation for them— a place of safety to which they can always return. This is the legacy we want to pass on to them.
How does God Respond?
The Bible says in Psalms 103:17-18 (HCSB), "But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts.”
When a man lives with a reverence and consciousness of God, walking in godly integrity and character, not only will the Lord show His faithful love towards him, but the blessing of God is also passed on to his progeny. What a tremendous legacy to leave to your family and those within your sphere of influence! It will outlast and be more profitable than anything material you could offer them. Your relationship with the Lord will have a lasting influence long after you have left this earth.
My hope and prayer in writing this short observation is that we as men will carefully consider the responsibility we have in leaving our families with a lasting legacy for the future.