With apologies to Mr. Webster, I think it’s time to create a new definition of legacy – as in “living legacy”.
The term “legacy” is almost always thought of in the past tense – if not in terms of a deceased’s gift to heirs, then actions or memories of a person no longer in a position to have an impact any longer. This is a correct and proper use of the word, but I would like to suggest that legacy is actually much richer in terms of the present.
I benefited from growing up in a home where Christian values were both taught and lived out daily. My parent’s legacy, then, was expressed in actions right before my eyes. Even in their mid-80s, my parents are still imparting wisdom to me – they are living out a legacy. But I was also impacted in profound ways by other adults along my life’s journey who lived out a legacy of faith that was powerfully impacting in my faith development.
I have four children, whom I love dearly. With two of them out of the house with families of their own, the third well on the way as a senior in college, and the fourth a junior in high school, I realize my significant impact on them has already occurred. But my legacy to them lives on in the way they interact with others around them. It’s not finished; it’s just a different perspective, still very much alive.
The community of faith we live in – our church family as a whole, and in smaller groups even more so – is a legacy builder in just as strong a fashion as a parent. I have noticed it even more as my children have grown into young adulthood – there are men and women who impact their lives in a regular and intentional way. These godly leaders and friends are continuing to shape the legacy of those around them. As a parent, I appreciate the close friendships and time these “legacy builders” are investing. In ways that I, even as a parent, can never do, they are living a legacy that is shaping my children’s lives. In quiet but powerful demonstrations of love, they are passing on a heritage of faith through the lives they live day in and day out – often unnoticed by others, but truly a treasure of the Kingdom of God.
Sister, brother in the faith: you are a living legacy to those around you – even when you don’t realize it. Keep true to your Lord’s guiding hand, and know that you are loved and appreciated beyond words.