I attended two separate and distinct events today that were designed to recognize the past. One was the 50th anniversary of my church congregation being located at their current address. Many names from the past were mentioned, and their service recognized. Honor was extended to them…many of them in their memory since they have since passed on. The church that is there now is in many ways one of their legacies.
The other event was a Masonic ceremony in memory of members that had passed away in the previous year. When I say it was a ceremony, I mean that to the fullest extent. I am not a Mason, but my father-in-law was, and he was one of the men for whom the memorial was held. The event was held in the Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Indianapolis, and my wife’s father simply loved that place. He spent hours upon hours there, performed countless works of service in support of the organization, and was fully devoted to the Masonic and Scottish Rite principles. As I walked around inside the old, very ornate building with its intricate craftsmanship, I couldn’t help but think of Woody and how much he truly loved it there. It is one of his legacies.
A legacy in simple terms is just something handed down from one individual, generation, or organization to another.
Many people just pass on through this life and leave very little mark…very little legacy. Sure, those closest to them have memories…small legacies…that they hang onto for a few years. But, soon enough, those memories fall into the chasm of history. If you consider history, recognizing the millions upon millions of people who have lived, how many of them really did, said, or accomplished something of significant consequence that caused people to remember them beyond their own lifetime?
Have you ever considered what your legacy will be? What will you have to hand down?
And, on top of even the idea of handing down a legacy, have you considered whether it will be a GOOD legacy? After all, some people are truly remembered, but not for the good they left in their wake. Think Hitler, etc.
I hope that when my time comes to pass on into the annals of history that I have left behind some pieces and parts that are worthwhile of being remembered. Maybe that’s why I write. Once I’m gone, my literary creations will remain...whether you think they are good or not so good. But, I hope I leave a bigger legacy than a few articles, some cheesy poems, and a handful of decent short stories.
I hope I leave a legacy of making a difference.
First of all, I hope that my feeble attempts service in leadership at the Southeastern Church of Christ will be used by God to truly help people. I hope when they celebrate the 75th or 100th anniversary that they will think well enough of me…that I will have done enough good…to be mentioned as a positive influence. I don't want to be remembered for holding a title...but for making a difference.
But, even more important to me is my hope that I will pass the baton of a love for God on to my children just as my dad passed it on to me.
I’m good at my work. I’m a successful salesperson in an industrial industry. But, I don’t really care all that much about how I’m remembered for that. Who cares if I sell more bearings than anyone else? I could become the most successful bearing salesman to have ever lived, but if I have not helped someone to a better life, and especially if I have not passed on that flame of faith born of a love for God to my children, then I am a failure and I should be forgotten.
Some people have to have the most toys. What’s the saying? “He who dies with the most toys wins!” Really? Who is going to care once those toys are rusted out, distributed to others, or auctioned off?
Some people want the greenest lawn surrounded by an impeccable landscape. Give me some dandelions….I’ll put up with crabgrass…if the trade-off is that my kids walk with the Lord.
We are still building our legacies…you and me. It is still yet to be seen what we will leave behind. I have a saying that I created a few years ago:
“Be the person today that will lead you to become the person that you want to be tomorrow.”
Think about that as you build your legacy. Be the person today that will lead you to build the legacy that you want for tomorrow’s generation. That will be my goal.