Posted on September 3, 2014
#69: What Will Be Your Legacy?
My grandma Hilda died at age 90 after a long, active godly life. Her lifelong “career” of service to Christ began in 1928 when at age fourteen she started teaching a third-grade Sunday school class. After her death, one of her early students—who was by then in her seventies—said to me, “In all the years I’ve known Hilda, I’ve never once seen her do or heard her say anything inconsistent with the faith she professed.”
I’ve never forgotten those words. If God grants me ninety years, I’ll be delighted (and amazed!) if anything close can be said of me. Grandma’s example stands as a lasting influence on me, my brothers, our families, her students, and many others. Hers is a powerful legacy.
Nichole Nordeman recorded a song I love, called “I Want to Leave a Legacy.” A few lines of the lyrics say:
I want to leave a legacy.
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering—
a child of mercy and grace
who blessed Your name unapologetically—
and leave that kind of legacy.
Not well-traveled, not well-read,
Not well-to-do or well bred,
Just want to hear instead,
“Well done, good and faithful one.”
Have you done much thinking about your legacy? We all leave one, whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether good or bad. Today we’ll consider examples of each.
Do you have your Bible? Let’s read! Look at Mark 12:13-17, and the parallel accounts in Matthew 22:15-22 and Luke 20:20-26.
In this passage the Pharisees and company are back, laying yet another trap for Jesus, hoping against hope He’ll hang Himself with His own words. With words they intend as empty flattery, they offer a true three-part description of Jesus. “Teacher,” they say, “we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.”
We’d each do well to be known as
• a person of integrity
• who is not swayed by men
• who presents the way of God in accordance with the truth.
What a contrast to the conniving Pharisees, who presented themselves as righteous leaders but were really men who had no integrity, who leaned whichever way would bring them the most power and wealth, and who had no concern for truth. These men were known then and now as:
• ambitious and controlling
• deceivers, who plotted behind closed doors
• leaders who misused their position and abused their authority
• people who wore a mask of holiness but didn’t act as God would have them act
• allies of anyone who would advance their cause, no matter how godless
• “shepherds” who failed to protect the people God had entrusted them with.
Today, to be pharisaical is to be hypocritical.
Jesus was openly disgusted with the Pharisees. “You hypocrites!” He boldly challenged them, “Why are you trying to trap Me?” Then He side-stepped their snare, leaving them once again grudgingly amazed at His wisdom.
I’ve known people (some of whom were leaders in the Church) who fit the Pharisees’ description all too well—and who have done harm to their witness, their marriages, their families, their friendships, and to God’s Church in ways we’ll not know the full measure of until the judgment. It’s a legacy—but a far less attractive one.
So what about you? How are you known? If you were to be described in a few phrases, what would they be? They are a forecast of your legacy. Are you happy with them, or happy there’s still time to change them?
Be sure your life of faith is clear to all who know you. Live each hour in a manner consistent with the faith you profess. “Taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b)—a daunting task, but one worth pursuing. Do all you can to make sure your legacy is one you—and God—will be proud of!
Thanks for joining me for this post in our Bible study series Knowing Jesus. I pray each week that these short studies will help you know Jesus better and challenge you to live better for His glory. You can receive each Wednesday’s post by email by simply subscribing at right—simple, quick, and free! Your email address will never be sold or used for any other purpose. May God bless your week!
Legacy by Christopher Ward Dedrick, ©Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, EMI Music Publishing
© Diane McLoud 2014