The word legacy is often thrown around in grandeur without much thought behind the meaning of the word. For many people across the world the meaning lines up with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition. But how do Christians view this subject?
I started thinking a lot about this subject after my brother-in-law passed away. A Facebook group was started for the purpose of sharing stories, and other memories of Patrick for the sake of passing on his legacy. These stories one day will be compiled and given to his 3 young boys.
But of note, no one spoke about his legacy being his finances, his house or other earthly possessions. The legacy he passed down was even more special and important. And he did not have to be old to have a legacy.
So then what is a legacy?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the word legacy means: “a gift by will especially of money or other personal property, or something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.”
So it’s basically items/property that are passed down to future generations. But these possessions can be sold, stolen and often just fall a part. Jesus describes these things as something that corrodes and is destroyed. What does the Bible say about this?
Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The Bible is almost directly opposite in meaning. So let me say it in a nutshell:
Earthly legacy: items and property that are passed down to future generations.
Our heavenly legacy is: the people we lead to Christ and the lives changed by Christ in our lifetime, or our faith passed down to future generations.
There are several legacies that are left behind according to what I see from the Bible.
- Our Faith Passed On. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 teaches us to go and make disciples. We should be passing our faith to others. This could include people your age or older but we should definitely be passing this down to the younger generations. The failure of this in the past has been a huge reason for the state of Christianity now. This is why I am so passionate about being a student pastor. I love investing in the younger generation and seeing them own their faith. If you are a believer, whom are you sharing the Gospel with and whom are you passing your faith on to?
- Our Family. How are you leaving a legacy for your family in matters of faith? This is of more importance than any other. We leave a legacy for the spouse we leave behind, but mostly for our children and grandchildren. What are we passing down spiritually to them?
Jim Elliot died at a young age as a missionary. His wife has since carried on his Gospel fervor and passed it to future generations.
In the New Testament, Lois, the grandmother of Timothy, and Eunice, his mother, invested their lives into young Timothy. Who then passed it down when he was a pastor.
- Our Friends. This would include our close friends, co-workers and acquaintances. During my brother-in-law’s funeral this was very evident as many of his co-workers were there. At the funeral a large majority of his co-workers became followers of Christ. So what are you passing on to those around you?
- Our Lives. This is our personal walk with Christ. You may say what does that have to do with this topic? Well, how you live your life reflects your faith and it is your faith that is passed on. How do you live your life? Does it reflect Christ? Are you focused on loving and serving others? How we live is our legacy.
The bottom line is:Our legacy is our faith passed to others. Click To Tweet
I know that my definition of legacy is not perfect. So what would be your definition?
Do you agree with these 4 legacies that are passed on? What would you add?