I have a friend whose children disowned him 20 years ago due misunderstandings and their children’s association with a family who gave them bad advice. It’s a sad situation, one for which he and his wife pray all the time. Yes, they continue to move on and continue in their ministries, but the lack of children and grandchildren is a heartbreak of which they are continually reminded.
This week he told me he had no “legacy” to leave his children because he has no children to leave a legacy to, and his grandchildren have never known him or his wife. I asked what he thought his legacy was and he told me things like family histories and photos, family souvenirs, including military uniforms and awards, hundreds of books, stamp and coin collections, jewelry, their house and financial holdings, and lots of other material things.
I then had to ask him, “What about the gospel? Did you give them the gospel? Do they know Jesus as their savior?” His answer was, “yes.”
So I pointed out that all the things he listed were just earthly things that would turn to dust. Family history and photos and souvenirs, etc, can all be put into boxes with his children’s names on them so someone can pass it all on to them after his death — and even then they might just destroy it all. Give books to libraries and interested people. Sell the coin and stamp collections. Everything else should be left to a worthy cause so the children will reap no benefits from their treatment of their parents.
Then I told him that I’ve seen the ministries he and his wife have been involved with, and all the people they have affected for the Lord. “THAT is your legacy,” I said. “These people will all remember how the Lord worked in their lives through you and your wife, and you touched so many people for the Lord, both young and old, that you have a real legacy there. Don’t worry about leaving a ‘legacy’ for your children--except how you and your wife continued to love them as you served the Lord."
Do you worry about leaving a legacy when you die? The only important legacy is what you’ve done for the Lord.