“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” -John 8:32
Legacy, Chapter One
What Will Your Legacy Be?
“What will my legacy be?” This is not a question that occupies the mind of a great many young men and women. It seems that it is only as we grow older, and become more aware of our creeping mortality, that we begin to worry about what we will leave behind for our children.
My job as senior pastor of a church forced me to consider this question much sooner than I might have otherwise. One of a pastor’s myriad responsibilities is to conduct funerals and memorial services, and to minister to those who attend. I delivered a great many eulogies, extolling the virtues of the departed, and listening to the surviving families memorialize their loved ones. As time passed, I would begin to mentally project myself into the casket. I thought, if it were my wife and children and grandchildren who had been asked to talk about what I had left for them to live by, what would they say? Would the best they could offer be, “Well, Jack worked hard. We didn’t see him much, but he did everything he could to provide for us.” I delivered the eulogy at my father’s funeral. He died at the age of 54. What was his legacy? There wasn’t one. We kids never saw him. He worked two jobs to support us. That was the legacy that Dad received from his father, who bequeathed no spiritual inheritance to his family, either.
After ten years in the pulpit, I entered the world of business, and began my career as a consultant and motivational speaker. During the last twenty-five years, I have worked with a great many wealthy men and women. It is tragic how often they see their work as something that they are bequeathing to their children. I particularly remember one multi-billionaire whom I personally tutored for six months. When he died, he left a money legacy, not a meaning legacy. The center and circumference of his life was money, not meaning. He died an empty man.
My mother’s uncle left a spiritual legacy because of his example. He was a deacon, and a real stalwart servant of his church. I watched him, and I admired his life, but he left behind nothing that would indicate the things that his family should value and study and live by. My father’s family left a legacy of work; my mother’s family left a legacy of spiritual work; but neither left behind any treasures of knowledge.
This is an excerpt from Legacy …