While we are often and rightly urged to ensure we have made out a Will. We want to ensure our worldly goods go to the right places and the right people. It is a sort of final act of giving. But we bequeath to others a lot more than property or possessions.
Christian parents hope to leave behind a legacy of faith that may be embraced by their children. Of course, they can’t guarantee their adoption of the faith, but at the very least they can leave behind some sort of example of what it means to follow Jesus. One writer has said we are to leave our children with two basic legacies: roots and wings.
Solid foundations and the freedom to be their true, best selves.
In church life, we leave legacies behind. One generation of leaders trains and equips another generation. No church truly starts from scratch. We build on the foundations laid by others. We stand on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before. And we can’t help but mention that it is sadly possible to leave behind a legacy of arrogance, apathy or fear.
The legacies we leave behind will involve words as well as actions
The legacies we leave behind will involve words as well as actions. Our words can make a mark for good or evil. Our wise and encouraging words may be long remembered just as our wounding words will bear scars in the lives of others.
Some legacies are very obvious and may even hit the headlines. A big financial bequest, a new mission field, a life enhancing medical breakthrough. But for most of us, our legacies are more subtle. Only a few may acknowledge them consciously, though at another level they have made an impact. We have to recognise that the mark that a person makes in this world is often a trail of faithful love, quiet mercies, and unknown kindnesses.
None of us is a master builder: we are workers. We only grasp a small part of the great, overarching work of God the master builder. In our lifetime we only accomplish a fraction of that great work. No matter. We are players in the drama, not the dramatist; characters in the story, not the storyteller.
Our legacies may not resolve the problems of the world, but perhaps they can mean that our small worlds are better places because we have once lived and loved in them.