We All Leave a Legacy
by Leigh Powers
The wind ruffled my hair as I walked through the cemetery, my children following close behind me. We stood next to my grandparents’ grave, and I told the kids how, like their father, my grandfather had been a Baptist preacher. My grandmother had gotten her seminary degree right alongside him, and her professors said her academic excellence would open doors through which generations of women would follow. I reminded my children that one of those doors she opened had been for me. My grandparents passed away years before my children were born. Though they have never met them, my children are inheriting their legacy of faith.
Legacy is the story our lives tell to the generations to come. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing legacies are only for the important people—the world changers, the billionaires, the influencers, and the stars. If you don’t invent a new technology, lead a country out of its darkest days, or have a million followers on Instagram, is it possible for us to leave a legacy? Scripture says it is. We all leave a legacy because we are all part of God’s great story of salvation.
Part of the reason we make the mistake of believing that only the headliners have stories worth telling is that we so often focus on only the same familiar passages of Scripture. Esther, Mary, Eve—we know their stories by heart. But is there a place for us in God’s story if we aren’t a Persian queen, mother of the Messiah, or the first woman who ever lived?
The good news is that God’s story of salvation is told by all those who belong to the family of faith. When we read Scripture closely, other stories come alive—the stories of women who God said were worthy of remembrance. We don’t know all their names, but we know the part they played in God’s story of salvation. They boldly claimed their inheritances, spoke prophetic words of truth, clung to the rock of God’s word, experienced God’s all-consuming grace, and witnessed God’s resurrection power. They lived, and their stories tell the generations yet to come about God’s power and majesty. Their stories are their legacy.
Our story is also our legacy. What does our story say about God? How do our lives testify to God’s power and grace? Leaving a legacy is not about the headline-making moments. More often, it is woven through the long journey of faithfulness, daily choosing to honor God in the moments and spaces where He has placed us. Three life practices can help us weave our legacy:
Cling to God’s Word
To tell God’s story, we have to know God’s story. The pressures and challenges of our world can make us feel like we’re standing on the edge of the ocean, losing our balance as the water washes sand away from beneath our feet. When we feel unsteady, it’s easy to grab on to the first thing that feels solid. Our families. Our finances. Our careers. But all these things are only shifting sand. To leave a legacy that lasts, we need to build on a lasting foundation. Clinging to God’s Word roots us in God’s unchanging and unshakable truth. Read it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Live it. We find our places in God’s story when God’s Word finds a place within us.
Receive God’s grace
Perfect people don’t leave legacies. Why? Two reasons. Number one—there aren’t any. Number two—it’s through our weaknesses, failures, and mistakes that we display the glory of God. God is glorified by forgiving our sin, strengthening our weaknesses, overcoming our failures, and redeeming our mistakes. Instead of wasting energy trying to be worthy, we need to rest in the sufficiency of Christ’s power for our salvation. God does not redeem us because we are worthy but because He loves us in spite of our unworthiness. We did not deserve salvation, and yet Christ freely gave His life for us anyway. Instead of trying to earn God’s grace or refusing it because we think we don’t deserve it, we need to gratefully receive this priceless gift. Those whose lives are transformed by God’s grace live a story worthy of remembrance.
Find Our Identity as Children of God
I teach high school, and through the year I watch students try on different versions of themselves the same way I slip on different pairs of shoes. The search of identity is one of the major tasks of adolescence, and it’s important for these young people to decide who they want to become. Some of us are still on that journey. We define ourselves by the roles we play or in relationship to our community—homeschool mom, hard-hitting executive, political conservative, or sports hero. Sometimes we define ourselves by the labels other people give us: Loser. Liar. Arrogant. Fool. Failure. What we need is to define ourselves by who God says we are: children of God. When we understand ourselves as beloved sons and daughters of God, we begin to understand the privileges and responsibilities that come with that identity. We enter God’s throne room with confidence. We begin to glimpse the unchanging love God has for us. We understand and receive all the gifts and blessings God has poured out on us—and receiving those gifts frees us to share them with others. Living as God’s children enables us to leave a legacy.
We all leave a legacy. Our stories are shaped by how we cling to God’s Word, receive God’s grace, and walk out our identity as children of God. When we live faithfully in the moments God has given us, our stories tell God’s great story of salvation. May we live in such a way that when the generations to come tell our story, they can’t tell it without telling about Jesus. That is a legacy worth remembering.
Leigh Powers has had a lifelong love affair with the Word of God. A pastor’s wife, mother of three, speaker, and award-winning author, she strives to combine solid biblical study with real-world application. You can usually find her with either a book or knitting needles in her hand—and sometimes both. Connect with Leigh at her website, www.leighpowers.com.
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