Tuesday, September 15, 2015

August 23, 2015-Leaving a Legacy

Table Talk for 8/23/2015
With Spencer moving out Thursday and going to college and Sydnee and Sami busy building thier lives and careers, I have been given a moment to reflect on this stage of my life and Bev's and my marriage. 

What I've concluded, besides it being quieter and cheaper around the house, is that this is simply one more step in life's journey that is to be welcomed and not mourned. I have begun to see that my children are carrying with them a memory of life with me, while they build their own lives. This is part of my legacy.

God gives each of us opportunity to build our legacy. Even a child born without life or living only a short time leaves a legacy. The family I asked prayers for awhile back who lost their child shortly after he was born have taken that experience as a life-changing event that will always be with all of them. That baby left a legacy.

As I was going through the cemetary the other day, I looked at the variety of different memorials left for people who had passed. Some were large and ornate, others simple and small. For the very old memorials, no one recalls the person or has a face in their mind as to what they looked like. 

Even the very large, ornate memorials mark graves of souls who are strangers to most or all of us. We relate to these markers by a familiar name or the fact that they too had a connection to where we now stand.

This is really not a legacy since by definition, a legacy is anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. We have been given a headstone with a name or face we cannot recall but nothing from them directly that would merit a legacy.

How many of us have memories of those buried behind this church, who have names on items donated to the church, or those mentioned in the record book in the back? The legacy of this church remains but we have largely forgotten many of the individuals who have left it to us. Memories of people fade away as the people who knew them do.

Only one person has a true legacy that will endure forever, and that is Jesus Christ. Even though He was born to two parents who were relatively unknown and unimportant and He Himself lived a relatively unknown life until the end. His influence is greater than any king, any wealthy person, any giver or taker who has ever lived. His legacy is the hope of mankind. And we can develop a personal relationship with Him through acceptance and prayer.

I realize that any legacy I am able to leave will be short-lived and probably limited to a relatively small group of people. Who knows, I may be forgotten shortly after I am gone! But I also realize that by building my faith over a lifetime I can become part of Jesus' legacy, and more importantly I can help others do the same.

Our souls are only here on Earth for a short time. In this time we are to interact with others in a way that impacts their lives in some memorable way. That will be our legacy. Will it be a material legacy where "things" become our focus and what we try to pass on? Or will it be a "faith legacy" where a relationship with God is what we focus on and by doing so lead others to the same saving Grace that we found.

As written by Paul to the Colossians:
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ." (‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭23-24‬ NLT)

And a quote from Billy Graham sums it up pretty well; "The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith."

As we partake of these elements of communion let us remember the legacy of hope that Jesus left us by recognizing the sanctity of His body as written in Mark 14:22; "As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” May we bow our heads in a word of prayer for the loaf?