As we conclude this series, the apostle Paul reminds us that God has a greater purpose for our lives, to KNOW GOD and to MAKE HIM KNOWN. In other words, to LOVE GOD and LOVE PEOPLE. Discovering our purpose drives the way we live and ultimately is what we are going to be known for, your legacy. Legacy, It means putting a stamp on the future, and making a contribution to future generations. The next generation is watching what we do and how we respond to this life. The next generation will see and experience God through the lens of how you see and experience God. They will also see and experience people through the lens of how we see and experience people. What will it take for us to model the life of Jesus for them? “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” —Billy Graham
Life On Purpose: Legacy
Why Legacy Matters
Billy Graham once said, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”
What do you want your legacy to be? Whether we acknowledge it or not, we each leave behind a legacy. For some, this will be the money or property they leave to their family members. For others, it will be the lessons that were taught to them that they pass on to their children and grandchildren. For us as Christ-followers, our legacy, or what we pass on to the next generation, should be based on our knowledge of and relationship with Jesus.
The focus and drive behind our legacy is directly related to our purpose here on earth; what we prioritize during our lives is what will be reflected in our legacy. When our purpose is in line with what God’s purpose is for our lives – to know Him and to make Him known – then we, in turn, live in light of eternity, realizing that the influence that we have on the next generation holds the potential to impact their relationship with Christ.
That’s why this idea of legacy holds so much weight. The next generation is observing us. Our children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, students and mentees watch what we do and say, how we respond to situations, and what kind of decisions we make. Along with this, they will see and experience God through the lens of how we see and experience God.
Our lives, therefore, are a model to the next generation. What do you want to show them through your life and relationship with Jesus and with others?
What the Bible Says about Legacy
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses is addressing the people of Israel and instructing them in how they are to speak to and influence the next generation. He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
Our role as leaders, this passage shows us, is to, first and foremost, love the Lord with everything we have. When we model this, our thoughts, behaviors, actions, and interactions are impacted because the Gospel and our love for Jesus is being lived out in our daily walk. When we keep this as our number-one priority, it allows us to abide by the second command here, which is to teach Moses’s words (which later will become Scripture) diligently to our children. The word “teach” here is twofold; it means we are to tell about the words and commands of Moses, but it likewise means we are to live out the words in our actions.” Our legacy will not just be the words that we speak. It will even more so be created by the actions, decisions, and relationships that we make.
Above all, our experience of God will be what determines our legacy and how the next generation will learn from us. When we walk through our lives keeping Christ on the throne, we are able to be first-hand witnesses of His faithfulness and goodness to us. Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” One of the most impacting parts of being a follower of Christ is that we get to see God work in our lives and the lives of those around us. We get to see Him in action, and, when we see that, a primary part of our legacy becomes sharing His power and love with the next generation.
Therefore, the Bible emphasizes the importance of building a legacy through both how we live and through how we share Christ with those who come after us.
Leaving Your Legacy
Purposeful living signifies recognizing that our actions impact the next generation. Our lives matter not only for our own sake but for the sake of the people that look up to us and are influenced by us. How are you pointing the next generation to Jesus? Are you modeling Jesus in your daily actions?
We are imprinting on future generations. This truth allows us to see the gravity of our influence. When we see the potential of our influence, we can make the choice to live boldly and purposefully, to declare God’s might and goodness to those who come after us (Psalm 145:4), and to become more like Jesus.
Your legacy matters. What are you going to do today to build a legacy founded on Jesus?