Monday, March 12, 2012

"The Legacy We Leave Behind"

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 (Matthew 16:26).
     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 worthwhile endeavors.
     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 lives.
     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 his website,  (©2000-2006 BOB SPURLIN).

No comments:

Post a Comment