What is Your Legacy?
One of the things that drives me crazy…just one, as those who know me will say I’m “normally” a bit crazy, is the focus on celebrity, sports and political characters, and other high focus people. When these folks do something, have something happen to them, or pass away, the media and some of us, focus on them and talk constantly about whatever has occurred related to these folks. As if these people are more important or valuable than regular Janes and Joes like most of us. Let’s face it, God created us all, and we are all equally important in his creation. Not one of us is less, or more, important than the other. However, our world wants us to strive for a meaningful legacy. The world wants us all to seek celebrity, athletic star, political leader, or other cultural icon status, as if God created us to be these various types of folks, or be “given” such worldly titles. Yet, God created us to love God, love one-another, and do everything we can to work hard and to honor and respect God and each other with and through this love.
The world says we need to leave a legacy…I ask, do we need to leave a legacy? Or, does a legacy, or your legacy, only mean what you/we wish it to mean? So, what is your Legacy???
Typical of our culture, the way we use the word Legacy and the actual meaning of the word, are drastically, or at least minimally, different. Per Merriam-Webster, legacy is defined as:
1: a gift by will especially of money or other personal property:
2: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past
3: a candidate for membership in an organization (such as a school or fraternal order) who is given special status because of a familial relationship to a member
OK, I’m guessing your thoughts of, or use of, the word Legacy is slightly different from these definitions. What does it mean to leave a legacy? The way most of us use this word, in simple terms, is that a legacy is passed from one generation to the next and often refers to gifts of money or property. However, leaving a personal legacy involves more than the financial assets you bestow on the younger generation.
So, what is your legacy? Are you striving to be a “star” in whatever role you have or pursue? Is celebrity, politician or statesman, athlete, or some other social leader in the offing? If you say YES, then good for you!!! If you don’t aspire to be any of the fore-mentioned and said NO, then good for you!!!!! Do I say … would someone else say … or would God say that me saying “good for you” to both questions, is hypocritical? I would challenge that it is not. I believe whether or not a “legacy” is important to you, it is in fact up to you to determine – regardless of what your chosen walk, in life, is going to be.
For me, leaving a legacy is only important to me if it is important to God. Even though I have fallen short more times than not, my legacy is that I have always done my very best at everything I have done. This is my way of best honoring God and thanking him for his love and grace. As I mentioned in the Forum I posted last week: Sports - Purest or Prima Donna?, my High School best friend and I still hold a few school athletic records one of which is the most varsity letters ever at 16. These records have stood since 1975; 46 years. Were we the best athletes in school? NO, I don’t believe we were (sorry to my friend Bruce). In deference to Bruce, he may have been one of the best athletes 😊, but I know I was not. But I worked and played harder than everyone else (except maybe Bruce) and ended up all-state and all-American, in a few of these sports.
Because I am a flawed human, I will admit that such accolades did stroke my ego ever so slightly, but I worked and played 100% at every moment, every drill, every practice, and certainly every game, to bring honor and glory to God, because without his love, mercy, and grace, I would not have had that attitude, perseverance, and drive to be able to accomplish this or anything. That ego quickly went away, in fact it was only a few years later that I threw away all my athletic trophies and awards – but God never went away in my life, as he is everlasting and the one constant we need to put our faith in and we can always count on.
In my work life, I have never been the eloquent speaker nor the high-profile rising star with all the suave and savvy buzz words and relationship building, but I have always worked harder than most and spent every waking moment, doing my best to improve the business for which I was being paid. Whether or not I worked this hard, may have been for my family, for my employer, or even for me. But the ultimate reason, for always striving to do my best, is to honor and respect God, for only my best truly makes this honor personal and meaningful, and truly from me.
Around the home I always do my very best, work as hard as I can, on those typical housekeeping and home improvement projects. Although I am not the greatest handyman, this is an area where I have found that hard work alone does not succeed, but having some knowledge and experience goes along with that hard work for successful outcomes. Unfortunately, I have failed in this space more than I have succeeded, because I worked harder but I wasn’t smarter. You see in athletics and business, one only needs a little bit of knowledge and experience, because hard work and dedication will take you as far as you want to go and achieve. But, thanks to advancing and ever improving technology, in today’s world, one needs to be smarter at most trades and tasks and being smarter is even starting to creep into many of the “succeed only through Hard-Work” endeavors.
So, yes I have failed a lot in life, not always been as smart as I should have been or would have liked to have been, and even immaturely shunned others because their hard work commitment did not resemble my own. But I have always done my very best, flaws and all, always giving 100%, in everything I do, for the honor and glory of God…and if leaving a legacy is important, then right, wrong, or indifferent…this is likely legacy.
Every time I hear people talk about legacy, the first thing that comes to mind, is the song “Only Jesus” by the Christian group Casting Crowns. I love this song because the entire message is spot-on what I’m talking about in this Blog and the refrain goes like this (to hear the rest of the song, which is even more meaningful and powerful than the refrain, click the link below):
I don't want to leave a legacy I don't care if they remember me Only Jesus And I,
I've only got one life to live I'll let every second point to Him Only Jesus
If you have not had the pleasure of hearing this song, I invite you to “Google” it or to access it at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A66WYdMkUbU
Whatever you choose to do in life, do it with God at the forefront of everything. If you love your job, do it the best you can to honor God. If you’re not fond of your job but it provides an income and benefits crucial for you and your family, remember to thank God and walk with him in all you do for he has provided this opportunity to help you grow, develop, teach-coach, and nurture your family to achieve what is essential to you all, because this also honors God. If you are, or are aspiring to be, a celebrity, athlete, politician-statesman, social or community leader, or an average Jane/Joe like me, always remember to do everything you can to do your best to honor God, loving and truly appreciating your teammates, friends, families, and others, with love.
Like many of you, I have had jobs that I have truly loved and I have had jobs I did not love but presented an income – in fact there was a short time when I held 5 jobs at one time, just to provide for my family. There were times when I was an athletic star and times when I was an athletic failure. I have also spent some brief time supporting, and working for statesman/politicians and political candidates. I have succeeded in many of these roles, and I have failed a time or two – in fact I know I have learned more and grown more because of the failures. But in all these things, succeed AND fail, I always did my best in respect and deference to God. Nearly every day, I say the following prayer, asking God to:
Help me to do my very best, at everything I do, to honor You
Thank You for this incredible earth and all the beautiful nature and animals
Forgive me for all my failures, bad thoughts, actions, and transgressions
Help me to nurture the relationships of my friends and teammates, past, present, and future
Help remove my inhibitions and shortcomings to enable me to communicate and share the best of my thoughts, ideas, and concerns
Help me to truly put first and foremost, love to all, in my communications, thoughts, actions, and words
Help my family members in their walk with You, help them to get to know and embrace your incredible love and grace so that they know that everything they are to do is to bring honor and glory to You
I share this prayer because in some, or any, form, this is what I strive to do to leave my legacy. So, I suggest any similar dedication, regardless of life’s role, is what is essential to be successful and leave an important and meaningful legacy. Trust me, there are many many different ways to honor God, provide for a family, have a career, and tackle many of life’s challenges. Any way that honors God is THE way because my way, nor anyone else’s way is not necessarily the perfect or ideal way. But if it honors God and thanks him for his love and grace, it is the legacy we should be driven to deliver. Our successes, our failures, our trials and tribulations, our doubts, our stresses, our concerns, and our worries are tests in life that help us grow. Please remember that we humans are given free will and thus most of these challenges in life are man-made. God gives and allows these occurrences in life to make us better, wiser, stronger, and more appreciative of the many gifts and wonderful advantages we all have. Yes, there are people who have more and people who have less, but we are all God’s people and our legacy needs to be to honor God in all we do.
What the world, culture, press media, or social media, thinks is only important to those folks, but whether or not leaving a legacy is a critical assessment as to whether any of us lived a meaningful life, is not for the world or our culture to say. There will be times in all our lives where we will be stronger, weaker, both more and less successful, but with God in our lives and in every step of our attempt to leave whatever legacy is important to us, we will always have His love … and any legacy with God’s love as the result, is a legacy worth leaving!
Is leaving a legacy important – only you can answer that.