I was going through some old boxes yesterday as we were cleaning out our attic, and it ended up being quite a stroll down memory lane. I have a box of baby clothes that I have saved from when my kids were tiny. I have a box of pictures they painted, or colored when they were little. We had fun going through the boxes of things that my husband and I kept from our childhood. My kids grabbed some of our “vintage” t-shirts. I thought it was funny that they called t-shirts from when we were their ages “vintage”. Whatever.
As I was going through one box, I was surprised by what was in one. Inside an envelope was a newspaper clipping my grandmother had sent to me years ago. In the picture, she is seated in a chair, wearing a long, flowing red dress and gold slippers. She is surrounded on every side by little kids. There was a whole article about her beneath the photo that talked about how she was a weekly “Reading Fairy” for the local elementary school kindergarten class. She was in her mid-eighties when the picture was taken. No dust ever collected on that lady. She has long since gone to be with the Lord, but seeing her in that photo reminded me of the legacy she left behind for me and for so many others.
My pastor is preaching a sermon series on leaving a legacy. Have you ever thought what your legacy would be after you are gone? What are you doing now that will last long after you are gone from this world? It is something we should consider for multiple reasons. It’s a true fact that your great grandchildren won’t really know anything about you. Think about it, what do you really know about your great grandparents? Our fame, whatever that is, will die within two generations. My kids hardly remember my grandmother. They never even knew my other grandparents at all. So how do you leave a legacy behind that will have an effect on future generations if they won’t even know who you were?
The answer is simple. We have to leave a legacy that matters for eternity. My grandmother will see her great grandchildren in heaven because of the seeds of Christ’s love she sowed in me. She never had the opportunity to talk to them about Jesus, but she talked to me about Him. Many times. She warned me about the lure of this world, and how the devil would try to woo me away from Christ with the shiny things this world has to offer. She never missed an opportunity to point me to Jesus. She taught me many things, but she never left out Jesus, and I have tried to do the same with my own kids.
My pastor said that we can do many things to help the poor, feed the hungry, console the broken hearted, but if we don’t also point them to Jesus while we are helping, feeding, and consoling, the end result will not matter. If we feed someone, but do nothing to point them to Jesus, they may die with a full belly, but they will die without Jesus, and that’s a real tragedy.
We can leave a legacy of love, or generosity, or sacrifice, but if that legacy does nothing to affect someone’s eternity, it is wasted. What kind of legacy will you leave? Are you leaving? You will leave one, will it matter for eternity or just for a generation or so?