What Is Your Legacy?
by Jefferson David Tant
An old saying says there are only two things that are certain — death and taxes. And there is much truth in that. 😊 Something in today’s paper got my mind thinking about one of those certainties —death. And what about death? The word “legacy” came to mind, so I looked up its meaning: “An amount of money or property left to someone in a will.” Is that it? Is that really all that we leave behind when we die? By that definition, when a poor person dies, there is nothing left. Oh, but there is something left, something that is far more meaningful than earthly possessions,
What prompted my thinking about this was reading about the death in Nashville of Willie Maupin. He is survived by 4 children, 12 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, 11 great-great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-great-grandchild. That’s 56 descendants in 5 generations! He was 99 years old. I’m pretty sure that Willie did not leave a vast fortune to be distributed to his offspring, but there is something that should be of far greater value than money or property.
The Bible frequently refers to various individuals’ deaths. Among those is Abraham’s death. “Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8). How was he “satisfied with life?” Was it not because he had served God faithfully all the days of his life? Note God’s promise to Abraham. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5). It is obvious that God knew Abraham’s heart.
In giving a charge to Israel, God said: “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons” (Deuteronomy 4:9) Note they were to make God’s will “known to your sons and your grandsons.”
There is no greater nor more valuable legacy that parents can leave for their children than a life lived in service to God. As I consider my own family history, we are now the fourth generation of those who are serving God since the lineage started with my grandparents, J. D. and Nannie Yater Tant, and Oscar Lorenzo, and “E” Gotto, with the fifth generation now growing up.
Dear reader, as you consider your life and what you will leave behind when you die, what legacy will you leave? It’s not wrong to leave things of this world to benefit your descendants, but there is nothing greater than leaving a legacy of faithful service to God. And you need not wait until --whenever. Some years ago we had a very devout older couple with us. They were an asset to the congregation. But they waited “too late.” They did not give diligence in serving the Lord until their children were older, and as I recall, not one of their five children was a faithful Christian. We are preparing our “legacy” every day that we live. Don’t put it off until “tomorrow.”
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4). And mothers, follow the example Paul mentioned to Timothy; “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (II Timothy 1:5).