Last summer, after I finished a short study on the life of Lot’s wife, I couldn’t help but think how sad it is that the legacy she left behind is one of foolishness rather than faith and obedience. Naturally, it makes one wonder: “What kind of legacy will I leave behind?”
That reminded me of something I’d written for my church newsletter several years earlier so I dug it up and, reading it, was reminded of my grandmother (I’d forgotten the short article was mainly about her). I’m going to share it here, on the same day of the year that I originally wrote it (December 29) without any editing. I hope it will encourage someone.
What’s Your Legacy?
As I write this, on December 29, we’re preparing to say “good-bye” to the year 2004 in a couple of days. I hope that will be my last “good-bye” for a long time; I had to say it often enough this past year. Several friends and acquaintances moved away or died — almost in series — leaving behind their memories and hopes of being reunited one day.
My last good-bye was the hardest one of all: my grandmother died yesterday morning. While the full impact of the significance of her death hasn’t hit me yet, I know that my life will be different from now on. Why? Because she made a difference in my life. My grandmother left behind a legacy — not of material wealth but of riches that cannot be measured.
More than half her life was spent in relative poverty, overcoming one hardship after another, yet her family and loved ones were never in need. She would go without to make sure that those around her were taken care of. She wasn’t educated yet she had wisdom and insight that would put academics to shame. She was handicapped from childhood but never used that as an excuse — she worked harder than most people, was a doting wife, and lovingly raised two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She taught us about servanthood — first by being servant to many for most of her life, and then by needing to be served in her last few years. She never demanded service; she simply needed it… and deserved it.
Most of all, my grandmother left behind a legacy of a life lived after the example of Jesus Christ — a life of faith, of love, of prayer, of holiness, of courage, of compassion, of selflessness… there isn’t enough room here to list the godly characteristics she displayed. We all know people who have died. Think about the legacy and the memories they left behind. How will people remember you when you die? Is that the legacy you want to leave behind? If not, it’s not too late to change things. My grandmother wasn’t perfect, but she learned to submit herself so fully to Christ that His love shone through brightly — and that is what people will remember about her the most.
As I prepare to say “hello” to 2005, there are things in my past that I do not want to be remembered for. Perhaps you feel the same way. But we can begin, right now, to make good memories and to prepare to leave behind a godly legacy.