Day 5: Leaving a Godly Legacy
Proverbs 13:22 says "A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children."
When we think of the word legacy, we normally think of material possessions left to the next generation. Or, you think of wealthy folks who have left their names on buildings, bridges, or boulevards.
But legacy is so much more than that. What if you could attend your own funeral?What would folks say about you? I bet their eulogy would have nothing to do with money or possessions. Instead, they will likely use words to describe you or actions or events in your life. They will describe the kind of father you were, the kind of husband you were, and the kind of man that you were. The truth is, we don't get to decide whether we will leave a legacy or not. We only get to decide what kind of legacy we will leave. All of us will pass something along to our children-to the next generation, but what will it be? What will you be known for? How long will your influence last?
Early in the 20th century, an interesting study was conducted by A.E. Winship among two men who lived and died in the 18th century. The study was focused on what kind of legacy each man left.
1. The first man Max Juke, was an athiest and married a girl of the same opinion. From this union came 1,026 descendants. A study of this man's descendants showed that around 100 were sent to the penitentiary; 190 became prostitutes; 100 were drunkards.
2. Another man, the great preacher Jonathan Edwards, believed in God and married a girl of like character. From their union 729 descendants were studied. They discovered that around 300 were preachers, 65 were college professors, 13 were university presidents; 6 authors; 3 U.S. congressmen and 1 was vice president of the United States.
One man left a tragedy; the other left a legacy. Can you see how much your legacy can influence future generations?
Your actions today, impact countless lives that you may never even know.
Billy Graham was, and maybe still is, the most respected Christian man in our culture even though he's in heaven now. Billy Graham was converted by Evangelist Mordechai Ham, who was converted by the Evangelist Billy Sunday, who was converted by the Evangelist Wilbur Chapman, who was converted by the Evangelist D.L. Moody, who was won to Christ by Edward Kimball, who was a shoe salesman who taught Sunday School, where he won D.L. Moody to Christ. Did you hear that, a shoe salesman who taught a high school boys Sunday school class. He was just being obedient to what God called him to do. And if you've ever taught a boys Sunday School class, you know that's no walk in the park.
Think of all the lives on planet earth that have been changed for eternity because of the faithfulness and obedience of that Sunday School teacher. On a much smaller scale, this ministry itself was formed out of my Sunday School class.
God is counting on each of us to do what he's called us to do. To be the kind of man that He has called you to be. If we will be faithful and obedient, there's no telling what kind of legacy you can leave for the Kingdom!
Spend 5 minutes today thinking about what your legacy would be? What would they say about you at your funeral? And spend some time in prayer with God asking him to direct your paths and do what He has called you to do.
Be strong and courageous, stand firm in the faith, and have a great day.