When you die, what are you leaving behind?
When trying to answer that question, we tend to think in terms of material things. If we are not wealthy, we may feel that we do not have much of anything to leave behind. However, that is not quite true.
Think about the eternal. Each of us can leave something behind that has eternal consequences – and most of us do whether we realize it or not.
Consider this. You can lead people to the Lord, or you can lead them away from the Lord. You can even keep your mouth shut and do nothing – or so you think. If it is true that no man is an island, then whether you know it or not, you are doing more than nothing.
When setting out to leave a legacy of faith, we must have a clear understanding of three things: what that is (Part 1), how the legacy is handed down (Part 2), and how to do your part (Part 3).
Understanding What It Is –
You’ve heard it said, “Plan the work, and work the plan.” God had a plan. It all started in the beginning. Since most of us know the story, I will give you the condensed version.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
We know that everything was good until man messed it up. As sin entered the world, Satan got a toehold. God, however, was not surprised. Again, He had a plan.
Jesus was born.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Jesus died for us.
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
This simple story is not complicated.
Any of us can share it.
What makes a legacy of faith is not the story in and of itself. What makes a legacy – in this case, of faith – is what you do with that. Living out your faith is more than knowledge that Jesus lived, died, and rose for us. Satan knows that much.
You live your faith and start a legacy when you make Jesus Lord of your life. The legacy you leave grows from the relationship that you have with Jesus and your efforts to follow Jesus. As the Holy Spirit works through you to touch the lives of others and to bring them to God, the legacy begins. As others witness your faith in action, they will work on their faith.
God gave so much. The challenge for you is to understand that your faith will only become your legacy of faith when you choose to let it be real in your life and use it to touch the lives of others. What are you willing to do with that?