In the wake of the scandal at Penn State University, the decision was made to remove the statue of Joe Paterno from its location outside the football stadium. The story and human tragedy is well known and it prompted me to consider the question about my own life: “What is your legacy?” Have you thought about that? Is it important? What do you want to be remembered for?
The word “legacy” means, in its broadest term, “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor” (http://dictionary.reference.com). Most people don’t really concern themselves, if at all, about the idea of a legacy until they are at the end of their mission or life.
Our lives are but a vapor, in the grand scheme of things. The legal system has provision, for those who create wills or living trusts, to leave our earthly possessions to designated loved ones. Unfortunately, the legacy we leave behind in the reputation realm may be beyond our control in many ways (see Joe Paterno again). He was extremely concerned about the legacy he would leave behind and unfortunately for him (and even more so for the innocent victims) some bad decisions were devastating to many.
As a Christian counselor, I see many people who are floundering in their personal lives and/or in their walk with God and are often quite clueless about God would have them do. There is another group of clients who have spent much of their lives climbing the perceived ladder of success only to find, to their dismay that the ladder was on the wrong wall. I am bemused many times to read of people in their later years who leave jobs or positions so that they can supposedly spend more time with their families.
The spiritual reality is that our families need us in the formative years and it’s quantity time they really need much more than so-called “quality time”. The fact is that their children have long since grown up and moved on with their own lives to varying degrees of success. I guess that “better late than never” might be an acceptable response but how much better the results if they had started earlier?
The bible tells us that a man makes his own plans but the Lord directs or oversees his steps (Proverbs 16:9). I tell clients that It’s important to bring our lives back into alignment with God’s word and order: Him first, spouse second, children third and ministry/work fourth. I believe that if we are able to keep that balance then it will go well for us. As Christians, when we stand before the Lord, we all want to be commended and invited into the Kingdom (Matt. 25:23).
I believe that the bible is very clear on this point: our legacy on earth, whether it’s ministry, business or financial is of much less importance than the spiritual inheritance we leave to those loved ones He entrusted to us. It’s never too late to start or to turn things around. Everyone is ultimately responsible for their own choices but God is able to take a little seed and turn it into a great harvest if we will scatter it!
If you died today, what would people say at your funeral? Your spouse? Your children? Your co-workers? If that concerns you, begin today to make changes in your life! If you have a testimony of a turnaround, please let us know!