Leaving a Legacy

26 06 2010

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts. And by it, he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11:4

One of the greatest testimonies one can achieve is not the testimony they can give about themselves, but the one given about them after their death. Our goal as believers is to leave a legacy of faith for others to follow. In Hebrews 13 we are told to imitate the faith of those who went before us. Our lives are usually wrapped up in careers, homes, cars, possessions, money, retirements, and things that are soon forgotten after we are gone. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes all these things are vanity–empty. He was a man that had everything a person could want in life. He had women, money, possessions, armies, houses, lands, finest foods, servants, gold, silver, entertainments etc. and when he came to the end of his life he realized he had wasted his it. When giving the sum of what really counts he said simply, “Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.”

Long after the life of Enoch his testimony was summed up in the Scriptures, “he walked with God and he was not for God took him.” We see Job remembered thousands of years after his death (Ezekiel 14:14, James 5:11) we see Daniel receive a great testimony from the angel Gabriel when he was told in Heaven he was “greatly beloved.” We see Noah who, “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” as the only righteous person in a world full of wickedness. We see him held up as an example of righteousness over a thousand years after his death(Ezekiel 14:14) Stephen’s life no doubt impacted the apostle Paul (who helped kill him) long after his last words rang out, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Jesus gave a fitting eulogy after John the Baptist’s death when he said, “of those born among women none is greater than John the Baptist.

I have a rich heritage passed on to me especially from my grandparents. Their testimony reaches even into my life today. I believe it was Patrick Henry who said he left to his family the religion of Jesus Christ. If only that was our goal today. We are more concerned with leaving material goods behind, we forget the words of Solomon—all is vanity. My grandparents have been dead now for 10 years and more, yet there are people across this country that would welcome me into their homes, feed me, and show me hospitality and kindness based entirely of their love for my grandparents and the impact they made on the lives of those people. This is the kind of legacy we must each strive for in our lives. If you died would someone do well on your behalf 10 years later? This is what Solomon was talking about. It’s not what you have that matters Jesus said this, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” All that matters in life is that treasure that is laid up in heaven and the imprint we make on the lives of those around us. In the words of the song,” May all who come behind us find us faithful, may the fires of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey. May all who come behind us find us faithful.”

“The Bridge Builder”
“An old man going a lone highway, came at evening cold and gray, to a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide. Through which was flowing a sullen tide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim, the sullen stream had no fears for him, but he turned when safe on the other side, and built a bridge to span the tide. “Old man” said a fellow pilgrim near, “you are wasting your strength with building here. Your journey will end with the ending of day; you never again must pass this way. You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide, why build you a bridge at eventide?” The builder lifted his old gray head: “good friend, in the path I have come,” he said, “there followeth after me he today, a youth whose feet must pass this way. This chasm that has been nought to me, to that fair haired youth may a pitfall be. He too must cross in the twilight dim, good friend I am building the bridge for him.”

Written By:Richard Garland


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