We exist in a culture that touts satisfaction and gratification in the here and now. We have somehow lost the concept of constructing a life that will be something that is meaningful as a whole. This cultural message causes our priorities to get confused on a daily basis. The gratification from materialism is empty and short-lived. As generations before us have learned, the best investment we can make is in our own character and integrity, which then becomes our legacy.
Materialism will not last, but relationships will. There is no substitute for investing and modeling character and integrity for our children. As the psalmist asserts in Psalm 71:18 (NLT), “Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” God’s Word reminds us that we will reap from life what we have sown in life. We are each writing our story daily in the decisions and interactions we are having. There will come a day when you will be “sized up” by your children among their peers as to what kind of parent you are/were.
We are writing “our” story every day. That story is called a “legacy”. Galatians 6:8-9 (NLT): “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” We should ask ourselves the question: What will I look back and see when I get to that place that my life culminates? Proverbs 3:33-35 (NLT) teaches us that “The LORD curses the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the upright. The LORD mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!”
Walker Wildmon, vice president of the American Family Association, wrote of the legacy he wants to leave his children. As parents, we make decisions every day that will define us to future generations. When life has taken all that it can get, what we did in the past will be all that matters. We are leaving a trail of something. Wildmon writes, “First, we should want to leave a legacy of faithful marriage for our children and grandchildren to imitate. Second, we should want to leave our loved ones financial stability when we’re gone. Last, and perhaps most critical, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I want to leave a legacy of obedience to Him. This will result in my priorities falling right into place.”
We may be criticized for any choice we make, but criticism is best digested when we are criticized for doing right. A faithful legacy encourages those who come behind us to be faithful, too. In answering the question as to what he wants to leave his children when his race on earth is finished, Wildmon answers that he wants to leave a legacy of faithfulness to God as a “disciple, a spouse, and a steward.” God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 9:24 encourages us to press on in leaving such a worthy legacy, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!”