By Bob Spurlin
No one can deny the brevity of
life. Thus the legacy we leave behind is of vital
importance. Many are concerned about their real estate
holdings, stocks, bonds, and other securities they will
leave behind (Matthew. 16:26). I have seen family members
argue profusely over "how much" they will receive from their
relative's estate. Covetous hearts usually come into view
during such occasions (I Timothy. 6:10-11, Romans. 8:6).
Jesus emphasized the greater value of spiritual things in
the following statement from His Sermon on the Mount, "Lay
not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth
and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
moth doth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not
break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there
will be your heart also (Matthew. 6:19-21).
What will be the legacy we leave
behind? Let's consider some specific things that will
provide a positive legacy to our loved ones:
A GOOD NAME - The single most
important possession we have is our good name. The wise man
Solomon said, "A good name is rather to be chosen than
riches" (Proverbs 22:1). This writer grew up in a small
community in north Alabama. It was a place where everyone
knew one another. Few people in our secular society would be
identified as a "walking Bible," but such was the case with
James F. Dean. My maternal grandfather, J.F. Dean, passed
away in 1980. Still today people continue to acknowledge the
good name and integrity of my grandfather.
Preserving and maintaining a good
name that will be left for succeeding generations should be
a top priority. What will our name represent and how
important will it be to the church, community and our family
after we have left this world? Our name should symbolize
honesty, integrity and devotion to the cause of Christ
(Philippians 2:5, 2:9-10). The name Christian represents
living a life in word and deed that reflects the image of
Christ. What a true complement to the believers at Antioch
when Luke wrote, "And the disciples were called Christians
first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26).
Dear reader, the legacy of a good
name will mean more than all the rubies, sapphires, and
diamonds that could be accumulated in one hundred life times
A GOOD STEWARD - The legacy we
leave behind should show that the riches of this world were
not the obsession of our time and energy. A.M. Burton,
founder of the Life & Causality Insurance Company,
Nashville, Tennessee, was an incredibly talented and gifted
Christian man. This well-known man was able to amass great
wealth, and yet he was recognized for his support of many
As good stewards, we must show our
children the value of a dollar, and to make sure it does not
become their god (Luke 12:16-21). We live in a welfare state
of "free hand-outs." It is not an exaggeration to say that
state and federal governments actually lend encouragement to
those who choose to live a life of idleness. Just imagine a
society promoting, and encouraging generations to continue
having children out of wedlock, and never comprehend the
value and importance of work. This kind of life is not
conducive to building self-esteem or living a productive
life. In the early church some new Christians felt the
church at Thessalonica owed them a hand out, and the apostle
quickly put things into perspective. Paul writes, "For even
when we were with you, this we commanded you, if a man will
not work, neither let him eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). It is
clear from verse 11 that such lazy individuals were
identified as disorderly, and if they continued to live in
such a disorderly way that fellowship would be withdrawn (2
Thessalonians 3:6). A day's work for a day's pay should be
the formula for right living. Being good stewards of our
material wealth will have much to do by enhancing our daily
A LIFE GUIDED BY THE GOLDEN RULE
(Matthew 7:12). Implementing this rule would literally
revolutionize the world if all would live by its holy
directive (better employees, employers, husbands, wives,
elders, preachers, and membership). To live by the iron rule
suggests, "might makes right," which is to get what you can
regardless if it hurts others and should be repudiated.
Criminals and thieves live by this rule and reject the will
of others (Lk. 10:30-37).
Our aim should be to treat others,
as you would want them to treat you (I Peter 2:21-24). One
application involves turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).
The apostle Paul taught that evil should be substituted with
good (Romans 12:20-21). Applying this exhortation will mean
that we will "heap coals of fire upon their head." Those who
practice the golden rule are commanded to be honest and
genuine (Matthew 5:37; Colossians 3:23). This is a worthy
legacy to leave our children and grandchildren.
OUR LEGACY - A LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS
(Rev. 2:10). Perhaps the most treasured gift we can leave
behind is "a life of faithfulness." We look at men like
Abraham, Abel, Noah, Moses, Peter and Paul as faithful (Heb.
11). Though dead, yet they speak volumes about a faithful
life to almighty God. Faithfulness begins with our
fundamental obedience to the gospel. Hearing the gospel
preached (Rom. 10:17); believing the message that Jesus is
the Christ (John 8:24); repent of all our past sins (Acts
17:30); confess Christ as God’s only begotten son (Rom.
10:10); and baptism "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).
The one thing I want to leave my
family, when life is completed, is a memory of a life that
was dedicated to the cause of Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:13-14).
What legacy will you leave behind? Far too many worry about
the stocks and bonds they will leave behind. Others are
concerned if their children will waste or squander their
inheritance (Mt. 6:9-21).
Our legacy should not be an
addiction to materialism, but to spiritual things that will
enable us to live throughout eternity (Mt. 16:26). What
legacy will you leave behind? If your life has drifted from
God’s way then our destination will be a disappointment. Why
not consult your spiritual road map to make our “calling and
election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).
- Bob Spurlin, the "horizontal" preacher, has been bedridden
with Multiple Sclerosis for a number of years, yet continues
to faithfully serve his Lord through a number of avenues,
most notably his writing. Bob can be contacted through
(©2000-2006 BOB SPURLIN).