FAMILY: Leave a Lasting Legacy
The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money… but rather a legacy of character and faith. — Billy Graham
9 Ways to Leave a Lasting Legacy:
1. Live out your legacy through Jesus.
Our children are watching us. Live for Christ with character, love,
conviction, generosity, compassion and passion.
“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control;” Galatians 5:22-23
2. Live with meaning.
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1
Quote: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Quote: “Loving your spouse and your children with commitment and enthusiasm is a legacy like no other.”
3. Love like Jesus.
John 15:12 "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
Luke 6:31: "Do to others as you would have them do to you."
1 Corinthians 16:14 "Do everything in love."
Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
2 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
4. Share your life stories with your family.
Be an open book. Share your stories, good and bad. Share how God used your stories to transform your life for Him.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
5. Be open and honest.
Nothing communicates like authenticity. Sharing your failings as well as your triumphs will benefit many generations.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-4
6. Shine your light to your family and others.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
7. Give your family the gift of time.
Most children and grandchildren spell love - TIME. Commit that your legacy is “you loved enough to be available.”
1 John 2:17 says “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."
8. Follow Christ’s example. Be a Servant-Leader.
Great legacies dedicate their lives to Christ’s example of being a servant-leadership. Jesus said I have come to serve, not be served and to be an example to many. Give your life to your family and others.
9. Talk about your Christ-centered vision before you depart from this life.
“One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4
When leaving a Godly legacy, think about the impact your life will have on your family. It can have a Ripple Effect that can go on and on through many generations to come.
But, to leave an impact you need God to use you to impact others. How do you do that? Use the acronym for I.M.P.A.C.T. shared below. . .
“I” is for ‘Integrity’. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
Proverbs 10:9 says “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
“M” is for ‘Make Your Mark’. You make your mark by living day in and day out for Jesus, your spouse and your children.
Matthew 7:16 says “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”
“P” is for ‘Persistence’. Definitions from Oxford Languages says persistence is: ‘firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.’
Galatians 6:9 says "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
“A” is for ‘Accountability’. Webster's Dictionary says the definition of accountability is: "the obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one's actions."
Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” In other words, surround yourself with those who better you.
“C” is for ‘Compassion’. Definitions from Oxford Languages says compassion is: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
1 Peter 3:8 says “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
“T” is for ‘Transformation’. To see transformation, you need Inspiration + Application = Transformation. In other words, take God’s inspiration and apply it to your life. Then you will see transformation in yourself and your family.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
One of the greatest gifts you can give the next generation is faithfulness in your marriage. Your marriage is a picture of the gospel to a waiting and watching world. Marriage is the glue that holds civilization together.
The Art of Marriage through Family Life lists 10 ways to help your marriage go the distance so you can leave a lasting legacy. Check them out below. . .
10 Ways to Help Your Marriage Go the Distance:
1. You need a savior.
Stay committed to one another. Take the “D” Word (divorce) out of your conversation and remember, there is no reverse in your marriage.
Pray with and for your spouse.
Forgive each other. John 20: 21-23.
Realize there is no perfect spouse.
Believe God knows what He’s doing.
Trust in God’s grace and direction.
Compromise with each other.
Be objective and take emotion out of problem solving.
Love your spouse unconditionally.
5 Keys to Going the Distance:
Dennis Rainey from Family Life suggests these ‘5 keys’ to going the distance with your family. They are. . .
1. Fear and obey the Lord.
Psalm 112:1-2 says “Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
2. Respond to the world with compassion and actions.
Matthew 9:36 said “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
3. Pray with your spouse that God will use you for His purposes.
1 Chronicles 4:10 or The Prayer of Jabez says “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”
4. Be a steward of His gifts and abilities that He has given you.
1 Peter 4:10 says “Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.”
5. Ask God to give your children a sense of purpose, direction and mission.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Where is Your Heart?
From an early age, David Livingston would sit on his father’s knee and hear stories about the Dark Continent, Africa. He could almost smell the smoke of campfires rising above the grass rooftops of a thousand villages. He could envision the dense and uncharted jungles. He could taste the spray of cascading waterfalls over massive heights and he knew that one day he would take the good news of Jesus Christ to Africa. It became his heart, his passion and his destiny.
The day would finally come. Twenty years later, now married, David embarked on his missionary journey of exploration to Africa. He immediately began teaching and telling people about Jesus, village by village through the hostile country. Through great personal sacrifice and imminent danger, the gospel began to illuminate the darkest regions as this fiery evangelist pursued those lost and blinded by centuries of demonic oppression.
His wife fell ill and contracted a deadly disease. David and his wife returned to England to the care of doctors and badly needed medicine. As days passed, his wife’s condition revealed that there was no possibility for her return to Africa.
Days turned to weeks, weeks into months, and David’s restlessness began to increase. His wife told him “you must return to Africa, your heart’s passion is consuming you.” With great heartache, he left his loving wife. Parting was not an easy thing for them.
Through villages and jungles, he relentlessly traveled proclaiming the name of Jesus. Often caught between tribal wars and skirmishes, he narrowly avoided harm. In one such fight, while running for his life in the dead of night, his eye was lost as he ran into a protruding tree branch in the darkness. He was attacked by men and wild animals, having his shoulder mauled with by a wild lion.
His love for his wife never dimmed. The day came when David would return to the wife. The years of exposure to the sun had so darkened his now leathery skin and the jungle had so marred his countenance, that his wife did not recognize him, except for his voice as he entered her room.
David remained with his wife until her death and then returned for yet another missionary trip to Africa. This time, with no other focus and with great determination to preach the Gospel. David himself contracted a deadly disease. David cried out to the Lord and said “I will not leave again.”
His condition grew graver as the years passed by. His body was now failing, yet his spirit and relentless desire continued to press on. Eventually, he would have to be carried on a stretcher from village to village where he would prop himself up and preach to his hearers.
Exhausted yet undaunted, David was confronted by one of his servants by his bedside. “You must rest Mr. Livingston, you must sleep!” No!” David replied, “I must pray for Africa! Please prop me up by my bed to pray.”
Hours later the servant returned to check on his leader. To his amazement, David had died on his knees, praying for the country the he had given his entire life and strength to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior! The tribal leaders gathered from all areas of the continent to honor this great General of God. They ceremonially wrapped and decorated his body and began to hand carry his body on a stretcher to the coast where an awaiting boat would carry him back to his homeland, England, for burial.
As the procession reached the shore, those Englishmen waiting to carry his body home were shocked as one of the tribal leaders took out a knife and cut into David’s chest. “What are these savages doing?” Cried one of the Englishman. The Chief replied as they cut something from his chest, “His body may belong to England, but his HEART belongs to Africa!”
So, where is your heart? Is it with the Lord first and then your spouse and your children? Or, are there other things that you have given your heart too? Work? Money? Status? Hobbies? Etc? These other things aren’t bad in themselves unless they take precedence over your relationship with God and your family.
What is a Spiritual Legacy?
“Every man leaves a lasting influence that will affect future generations for centuries to come. Not all legacies are the same. What kind of legacy will you leave behind? A spiritual legacy is one that money can’t buy and taxes can’t take away. A spiritual legacy is passing down to the next generation what matters most.” Steven J. Lawson -‘The Legacy’.
What to Leave Your Children:
Randy Alcorn, author and Bible teacher, believes Christians should think carefully about the inheritance they leave their children. Here are his 5 guidelines.
*Don’t leave large sums of money to your children.
*Give it away before you die.
*Use your money to help you children get started in a career.
*Leave a spiritual heritage instead.
*Trust that God will provide for your children’s needs.
In conclusion, to Leave a Lasting Legacy, think about the impact of your life on future generations through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Start by focusing on your vertical relationship with Jesus. Then let His influence on your life Impact and Transform your horizontal relationships with your spouse and your children. Begin today by putting a stake in the ground to live a life worthy of Christ that will leave a lasting legacy for you and your family.