According to Webster’s Concise Dictionary, the word “legacy” means anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor.
Last summer at my grandpa Papa’s, funeral, I was asked to write a lifesketch and speech in memory of him. As I began to work on the speech, I was convicted once again of the importance of the legacy we, as parents, leave behind for our children.
Papa had so many people who loved him. In writing my speech, I gave a lot of thought to legacies and what they mean.
According to an article by Dr. Greg Bourgond “at the end of a life-there are four possible legacies we can leave:
(1) No legacy, (2) a bad legacy, (3) a perishable legacy, or (4) a lasting Godly legacy in the lives in the others.”
Why is leaving a lasting Godly legacy important? What is a Godly legacy?
I once heard a quote from Austin L. Sorensen that went like this: “A child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father.”
Wow, that’s a powerful thought and something we, as parents, should take very seriously.
How can a child find something of God in his or her father? For example, are daddy’s arms always open whenever there is a problem? Is daddy a refuge in times of trouble? Is he a shield from the bad day at school or the fight with a best friend? Is daddy loving, caring, and full of grace? Is he forgiving? Does he put the needs of others first? Is daddy someone his child can trust? Is he an encourager, is he patient, and kind? God is all of these things and these are just a few of the glimpses of God a child can see in her father. To see such things in her daddy helps her to see that God is all of those things and more, only to perfection.
Woodrow Kroll from Back to the Bible has compiled a great listing of some characteristics of a Godly man: He says that Godly Men are the leaders, protectors, and teachers in their homes. Godly men are worship leaders, disciplinarians, counselors, and encouragers in their homes.
Parents don’t realize how important they are in their children’s lives and this is just another testament to this fact. I can testify as Papa’s granddaughter that I saw him exhibit traits such as being a pillar of strength, protective, loving, and caring. He was a hard worker, provided for his family, and desired justice, yet not revenge.
When I consider Papa’s legacy, I am inspired to consider my own legacy that I am building in my children.
In the song “Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman, she sings:
“I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy…”
When you reach the end of your life, will you have accepted the grace offered by the Lord Jesus Christ? Will God be saying to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
Whether we are moms or dads, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, or grandparents, may we all leave behind a legacy that speaks of Christ and His saving grace that lives within us. As Dr. Greg Bourgond says, “live your life for an audience of One!”
Will you join me in prayer? Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of Papa. Thank You for the many years You gave him to us and thank You for allowing us to see glimpses of You in him. Lord, I pray today that we would all exhibit glimpses of You within us, whether to our children or to the stranger in the grocery store. Help us to be that salt and light that You have called us to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.