Legacy | Your Biography Through the Lens of Scripture {Guest Post: Percy W}

  “Legacy, Has Nothing To Do With Where You Begin, But Everything With Where You End”

Have you ever wondered what your legacy will be? I’ve attended several funerals and heard many people share about the deceased individual’s life, and how they impacted their life. They remember how the individual overcame life’s obstacles,what a good person they were, their successes, and often talk about the person’s children. They may even share a story about them.  I’ve even heard the children share about their parent’s impact on their lives. Each one of us has a beginning and an end. The period of life between our beginning and our ending is what’s important and is where one’s legacy is established. What will your legacy be?  Will your legacy tell the story of your purpose, existence and impact on earth?  

Legacy is defined as, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering what my legacy will be. I haven’t created anything miraculous, flown to the moon, held political office, won a marathon or anything like that, however; I will have a legacy. My legacy will be what I leave behind in my three children, those I’ve impacted throughout my career and relationships, and how they experienced the story of my life in relationship to Jesus Christ. Every individual’s belief system, moral compass and philosophy stem from something. As a believer in Jesus Christ, the Bible is our belief system, our moral compass, and the basis for our philosophy. We are not chameleons. Who we are doesn’t change. We just evolve more into the image and character of our Creator.

“For ‘In Him We Live and Move and Have Our Being’; As Even Some of Your Own Poets Have Said, ‘For We Are Indeed His Offspring.’ Acts 17:28                                 

About a month ago, I had a wonderful conversation with my son and he asked about having a worklife balance and using his personal time as preparation for his career. I shared with him that he does need to have a proper work-life balance, however; I also shared with him that his God-given talents are both for his career and his personal life. Then I shared with him that when it came time for me to leave and transfer to another office, my manager created a legacy sheet, which listed comments from my fellow co-workers on what my legacy or impact was in the office.

Another example of my legacy occurred when the time came for me to leave the church, which I had been serving at for 20 years, due to a career transfer. It was said that I had served faithfully for all those years. That was my legacy, “Faithfulness.  Recently, I went through a difficult time personally and my work performance was not at the high calibration as usual. I shared my concern with one of my support managers and his response to me was, “Percy, we all know your ability, so don’t worry about anything”. Those words were very reassuring and comforting to me and it reiterated my career legacy. So, the question to ask ourselves is, “How will my presence impact the place I’m at or the people there?” Since Christ dwells in us, wherever you are Christ is too.

The key about a legacy is that, it’s not what you dictate it to be, but it’s what others say. You can put a focus on the elements of your legacy, such as your family, your career, your Christian faith, and your volunteerism but the impact and results are up to the recipients. The Bible says:

“Let Another Praise You, and Not Your Own Mouth; A Stranger, And Not Your Own Lips”. Proverbs 27:2 ESV

Therefore, our assignment is to plant our seeds, and the harvest will be in the hearts of the people. They will testify about the greatness of your legacy, because they have seen it or experienced it. Every day we are working on our legacy.  So, don’t stop planting and building your legacy.

“One Generation Shall Commend Your Works To Another, and Shall Declare Your Mighty Acts”. Psalm 145:4 ESV

The Bible says:

“Do Not Be Deceived: God Is Not Mocked, For Whatever One Sows, That Will He Also Reap” Galatians 6:7 ESV

So, continue sowing, continue doing what is right, and continue honoring God in everything you do. For you shall reap the harvest either in this life or in the life to come. We’ve all heard of individuals who had amazing legacy’s only to have their legacy diminished as a result of one bad choice, or decision.

  • Choice- An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
  • Decision- A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

It’s amazing how one misguided choice or decision which can lead to a series of wrong choices can destroy all the work and effort of one’s legacy. We are familiar with individuals such as celebrities or country leaders who fall into this category, however; let’s look at a few characters of the Bible whose legacy was changed as a result of a choice or decision, whether good or bad.

  • Saul- Chosen to be King, but had the Kingdom ripped from him because he chose not to follow the Lord and follow all His commandments. 1 Samuel 15:1-35
  • King Rehoboam- Solomon’s son; He became King over Israel, however; he chose not to listen to the wisdom of the Elder’s but to listen to his peers, which resulted in the Kingdom’s being split and changed the legacy of him and Israel. 1 Kings 12:1-22
  • Esau- Because he was hungry, he gave up his birthright.
  • Rahab known as a Harlot, not one of God’s chosen people, but because of her faith in the God whom she heard about compelled her to hide the two spies of Israel. Joshua 2:1-22, Hebrews 11:31
  • King David- His life is a great example for us, because his life is an example of a person who grew up in a dysfunctional family, had great success, great failure, rebellion from his child, repentance and how to leave a legacy. In spite of David’s flaws, he displayed a repentant heart and God testified about him, Himself. Acts 13:21-23

As I mentioned earlier, your legacy has nothing to do with where you begin, but everything to do with where you end. We don’t have control over our beginning, but we can control the choices and decisions we make along our life’s journey, and our hearts desire should be to make choices and decisions that are directed toward the plan and purpose for our life. Sometimes we mess up and make choices or decisions that are not consistent with our Christian values and beliefs, but we serve a God who is able to take our mess up and us them for His Glory. This is not carte blanche for us to freely make wrong choices or decisions, but this does give us the assurance that God will be there to help us. Is our faith in the greatness of God enough to compel us to make Godly decisions that will leave a lasting legacy, like Rahab? Our end result is to bring glory to God in the decisions we make and even in the restoration or the correction of wrong choices or decisions we’ve made.

“Be Careful To Obey All These Words That I Command You, That It May Go Well With You and With Your Children After You Forever, When You Do What Is Good And Right In The Sight Of The Lord Your God”. Deuteronomy 12:28 ESV  

  • “The one who doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, but tells you what you need to hear. Keep this person”. – Unknown
  • “We can explain or justify anything to ourselves, but if you have to hide it or you can’t share it with other believers then you know it’s wrong”– Unknown  

The Bible says when Nathan confronted David about his wrong choice, David acknowledged his sin or that the wrong decision he made was against God. God did forgive David, but he was told that he had shown contempt for the word of God and as result the child would die. Even though David pleaded with God and fasted hoping that the child would live, God didn’t change His mind. With every decision or choice there are consequences, so please make good choices and decisions that will leave a lasting legacy.

We each have the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. Whether it’s your children, your marriage, a triumph over a life crisis, your financial or business success, your ministry, the list can be extensive, but it will require good choice and decisions. Don’t waste a lifetime of effort because of a few minutes of pleasure or selfishness.

“Leaving a legacy means more than providing an inheritance for your children. Too often, inheritances are squandered and forgotten. A legacy, on the other hand, means leaving behind not just financial security, but a sense of family history, belonging, and purpose, generation after generation”IjazRafi

I love this legal definition of legacy, because it focuses on a legacy that is eternal. A proper legacy continues on from generation to generation. The one legacy that we can leave that is not perishable is a spiritual legacy. Our testimony of God’s faithfulness and His mighty deeds in our life are the stories that will transcend our life. Your triumph over a life crisis with integrity is a great legacy to leave. Your generational legacy will give your children and grandchildren a sense of value and they will appreciate who they are.  Let’s review a few verses that speak to legacy:

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:Proverbs 31:28 ESV

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,and favor is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1 ESV

David, is great example of leaving a spiritual and financial legacy. He gave Solomon a charge and he left the finances and materials needed to build the house of God.

“… Be strong, and show yourself a man,  and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in His ways and keeping His statutes, His commandments, His rules, and His testimonies…” 1 Kings 2:2 -3 ESV

“For David said, ‘Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.’ So David provided materials in great quantity before his death”. 1 Chronicles 22:5 ESV

David is a person who God testified as a “man after God’s own heart. His life was one of failure as a result of a bad decision, repentance and a promise of legacy that someone would forever sit on the throne. This is what a spiritual legacy is. There are numerous types of  legacy’s to leave such as generational heritage, career accomplishments, wealth and faith in God. All of these are great. However, the majority of these can all fade away from generation to generation, but a spiritual legacy is a covenant that can’t be broken. I recently heard stories from a friend about his great, great, great grandfather praying for his children’s children’s children. As a result there is a minister of the Gospel in every generation. Spiritual legacy’s are birthed through prayer and is the only legacy that has the power to transcend one generation to another.

To ensure that wrong choices or decisions don’t impact your legacy let’s follow the these verses to ensure a lasting legacy:

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 ESV

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6 ESV

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him”. James 1:5 ESV

Finally, legacy, has nothing to do with where you begin, but rather everything to do with where you end! Enjoy the journey of life, you only get one!

Percy Williams GW

We’d love for you to meet Percy HERE 

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