Monday, February 09, 2015

Leaving a Godly Legacy

Everybody has a family tree and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Some are large and complex.

Others are simple and somewhat cartoonish.

Either way, we all have them. Some of us want to protect parts of our family tree while seriously pruning other parts. 

I believe that for all of us we want to protect parts of our family tree while pruning other parts of our family tree. While you may not be able to do anything about the people in your family tree who came before you, you can change what your family tree looks like in the future, and we all want something better for the following generations. I have never heard someone say, “I want my kids to be worse off than I had it growing up. The fact is that all of us do leave a legacy; the only question is what legacy do we leave and what fruit do you want your family tree to bear?

When thinking about a legacy, the first thing we need to think about is a good name. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Think of the names that are passed on in history. Many of them come from the Bible, like John, David, Samuel, Mary, Ruth, Elijah, Jacob, etc. These names are passed down because the name represented some kind of goodness. You never hear someone giving the name Jezebel, Bathsheba, Judas or Ebenezer Scrooge to his or her children, and for good reason – they do not represent the goodness they want for their kids.

Here are a couple of thoughts about a good name:

A good name is built one day at a time

This takes intentionality and daily work. William S. Burroughs (American novelist) said, “Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency."

Everything you do every day contributes toward building a good name. As a society, we are obsessed with the immediate. We are on an intense quest for the quick fix, but we must diligently manage our life one day at a time over a log period of time. Eugene Peterson says that the key to discipleship is “Long obedience in the same direction.” This is also applied to building a good name.

A good name is built on Godliness – the ability to honor God. 

If you are a Christian, your name ultimately reflects God’s name. This is about your spiritual legacy. Just like the first commandment sets up the others, “You shall have no other God’s before me.” Making God the center of your life takes care of everything else. A Godly legacy is the most priceless gift you can pass on to your children and grandchildren and it is imparted over the course of a lifetime.

A good name is built on gratitude – the ability to say “Thank You.” 

Gratitude is expressed in many ways, but it begins with two simple words, “Thank You.” Take time to reflect on all the people who have invested in your life.

Here is a quote from a recent Facebook post:

I'm starting a new series "A Legacy Journey" and the focus will be on what we leave our families. Since my dad left me no legacy, I had to look to my cousin's dads. I am one fortunate person to have grown up with so many Godly male influences around me. Brother Beahm, Uncle Jim, Uncle, Ed, Uncle Dave, Uncle Harris, Daddy John, Uncle Harry, Uncle Marvin, Uncle Tom, my Father-in-law, a bunch of professors and mentors, etc. I have many times thought about writing a book and dedicating a chapter to each of them and what they taught me. I know so many guys who have never heard "I'm proud of you." Although few of my uncles could actually express it in words, they showed it by including me in their lives. Although I hope to be able to pay some of it forward, I am so in debt to their generosity and love that I will always live in debt to their investment. Well... that's what I was getting at.

A good name is built on generosity – the ability to look beyond ourselves. 

Generosity is an intentional benevolent act of kindness that serves the benefit of others and reflects the Great God that we serve. It is a learned character trait that involves both attitude and action. Generosity is not a random idea or haphazard behavior but rather, in its mature form, a basic, personal, moral orientation to life. As generosity matures, it becomes who you are, not random. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

No comments: