Thursday, April 10, 2014

Legacy

"The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage."  --Psalm 16:6

If time continues, sooner or later, we all will die.  What matters is how we live our lives and what we leave behind us.  What will be our legacy?  Will our lives continue to bless others long after we are gone?

Bach and Beethoven will never be forgotten.  Their music has blessed others for hundreds of years.  Anthony Burger died when he was only 44, yet his piano playing still blesses people today.  Many authors like Victor Hugo, songwriters such as Fanny Crosby, actors like John Wayne, statesmen like Thomas Jefferson, tyrants like Mao Zedong, conquerors like Alexander the Great, criminals like Jesse James, lawmen like Wyatt Earp, and inventors such as Thomas Edison have all earned places for their names in history, whether in fame or infamy.  

Children are another important legacy.  They are the ones who can carry on the good fight after the parents' generation is long gone.  In them, many of the parents' traits, characteristics, and (hopefully!) wisdom can live on.  

Many people's life's labor is in providing for themselves and their families; in their endeavors these ordinary people play an integral part in keeping society running smoothly.  They construct buildings, build tractors and cars, drive trucks and busses, fly airplanes, deliver newspapers, repair farm machinery, sew clothing, and doctor the sick.  They leave a legacy of hard work and prosperity.  Without these "ordinary" people, society would long ago have collapsed.  

But sadly, the names of ordinary individuals are often forgotten, by society and even by their own descendents.  Someone may see their names etched on gravestones, but who they are and what they were like is unfortunately soon lost forever.  As Ecclesiastes says, "The memory of them is forgotten.  Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun."

There are a lot of things that we think are very important now that won't matter at all 100 years from now.  But there are other things that will never be forgotten.  Small deeds of kindness and acts of love live on.  Today we still talk about Mary who anointed Jesus' feet with ointment and wiped them with her hair.  

We don't have to conquer the world to leave a worthwhile legacy.  But we must remember that our lives will soon be over; we have only a short time to leave our mark upon this world.  Leave a legacy that will make the world a better place, and shine the Light of Christ.  Be a blessing to others.

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