What legacy will we leave behind?

Published 3:49 pm Monday, March 18, 2019

By Hal Brady
Owner of a Christian ministry in Decatur

Sometimes we can tell about the legacy a person leaves behind simply by walking through the cemetery. View several of these epitaphs and see what they tell us about the person who died.

On a tombstone in Cambridge, England, these words were written about an Anglican priest. “Here lies Father William who served as Vicar of this church for more than 30 years without the slightest bit of enthusiasm.”

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From a cemetery in Nova Scotia. “Here lies Ezekiel Ikle, age 102. The good die young.”

On a tombstone in a Georgia cemetery: “I told you I was sick.”

Now these tombstones tell us a lot about the lives that were led and the legacies that were left behind.

Abraham Lincoln was once asked how he would like to be remembered?

He said he hoped it would be said of him, “He plucked a thistle and planted a flower where a flower would grow.” It is little wonder that Abraham Lincoln is remembered with great fondness and appreciation. ”

For a moment, I want to mention four practical guidelines for a legacy of love. First, be aware! There’s a chapter in the late Bishop Bevel Jones’ book “One Step Beyond Caution” called “A Mother’s Influence.” In that chapter, Bishop Jones spoke of some of the things his mother gave him.

Bishop Jones said, “The longer I live the more I think about what my folks bequeathed to me and what I am passing on to my children and grandchildren. It is no disgrace not to leave an estate. But it is tragic to leave no legacy.”

Second, be engaged! We will never leave a legacy of love if we don’t stay engaged with the world.

Third, be humble! Prideful people never leave a legacy of love. It’s the humble people that we remember and admire.

Fourth, be kind! Kindness is many things. It’s how we treat friends and strangers and clerks. It’s how we drive our automobiles, respond over the telephone and remember an important date in someone’s life. It’s a thoughtful word, a warm smile and a little more patience. Kindness makes the sandwich!

What Jesus left for us is the love of the father. I’m taking about the forgiving, creative and consistent love that will stand forever in a world of prejudice, division and discord.

It’s a legacy that values highly the godly nature of our relationships with our fellow human beings.

So what is the legacy that we will leave behind? Jesus left a legacy of love and so can we.