leg·a·cy | \ ˈle-gə-sē
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
The definition above is one that I’m sure we can all agree for an understanding on legacy. However, the purpose of this blog is to challenge our understanding and develop perhaps a deeper meaning of legacy. But, let me be the first to admit that I didn’t know too much about legacy and it wasn’t high on my “concern” list until the recent passing of Dr. Lois Irene Evans the Co-Founder of the Urban Alternative and the wife of Dr. Tony Evans. Her passing spoke to me so strongly. She was a true women of grace, poise, and commitment. Commitment to serving and giving glory to Jesus Christ. I truly believe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’ve also watched her daughters Priscilla and Chrystal for years. Their messages, stories, and ability to relate with you makes them a sure catch in spreading the gospel to women like myself. It actually was through listening to Priscilla on that I found about Oakcliff Bible Fellowship. Although, I’ve only watched this family personally from the sidelines as a member of their church for the past 4 years; I am very fortunate to see an excellent example of a kingdom legacy.
This blog challenged me to research the actual word “legacy” and led me to think about how some are ok with going to work, getting off, and getting a paycheck. But some, are not. Does that mean those are the ones who don’t understand and believe in legacy? No, I’m not saying that. However, I would argue that because we have been conditioned to be ok with that formula. It led me to another question: what can motivate one past accepting the conditioned formula outside of money? Perhaps the desire to ensure their future is cared for as well as their children’s future, and others who may come in the path by knowing Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 13:22: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children.
Psalm 78:4: We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
Matthew 6 20-21 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
Proverbs 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!
Going deeper. Legacy comes from the Latin verb, legare "to appoint by a last will, send as an ambassador." This ROOT-WORD is LEG meaning LAW from the Latin lex & legis.
Originally, the noun meant "ambassador" or "envoy" but soon shifted to mean the money and property a person leaves behind in his will.
Etymology defines legacy as:
late 14c., legacie, "body of persons sent on a mission," from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy, deputy," noun use of past participle of legare "send with a commission, appoint as deputy, appoint by a last will" (see legate).
I have another question for you. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Will it be lasting? Will it be imperishable and eternal? Or will you leave behind only tangible items—buildings, money, and/or possessions?
The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to invest his life in faithful men who would be able to pass God’s truth on to the next generation- Now that’s legacy!!. Where does God want you to invest the time you have been given?
I extracted this from familylife.com and I thought it’d be worth sharing to provide a little guidance with the understanding and application of legacy.
“1. Fear the Lord and obey Him. Your legacy begins in your heart, in your relationship with God. Psalm 112:1-2 reads: “How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.”
2. Recognize the world’s needs and respond with compassion and action. In Matthew 9:36 we read: “And seeing the multitudes. He [Jesus] felt compassion for them.” You need to leave a legacy by being committed to doing something about our world. Many Christians today are walking in the middle of the road; they’re so focused on what other people think that they are unwilling to take any risks in order to make an impact for Christ.
When you fly over rows of houses, do you wonder how many people in those homes know Jesus? This year thirty million people will die without hearing the name of Christ. Hundreds of millions will pray to idols. Someone needs to reach these people with the Good News.
John F. Kennedy, in Profiles in Courage, described the need for courageous people: “Some men show courage throughout the whole of their lives. Others sail with the wind until the decisive moment when their conscience and events propel them into the center of the storm.” If you want to leave a lasting legacy, you need to act with courage to reach out to those in need.
3. Pray that God will use you to accomplish His purposes. As recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:10, Jabez prayed, “Oh that Thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that Thy hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldst keep me from harm.”
What did Jabez ask God to do? Bless him. Give him new turf and enlarge his sphere of influence, keep him from temptation, and stay with him.
4. Be a better steward of your gifts and abilities. Recognize how God has used your gifts and abilities in the past.
Plug into the local church, which needs committed laymen and women who have strong, godly character and a vision for their communities.
5. Ask God to give your children (even if you don’t have any- this can include nieces, nephews etc.) a sense of purpose, direction, and mission. The challenge here is to leave your children a heritage, not just an inheritance. As someone once said, “Our children are messengers we send to a time we will not see.”
Gaining vision and direction in life will yield significance to your life and those you come in contact. Because true vision, direction, and purpose can come only from the One who controls not only the present but also the future, its inevitable by seeking Him you will surely find comfort in knowing.
The challenge is the same for all of us. Will we follow Christ and fulfill His call and vision for our lives?”