SmithsonianSomething handed down; a tradition, a heritage, a way of living, expectations

The good that men do lives after them. Ruth Gordon

No legacy is so rich as honesty. William Shakespeare

We can’t all leave a prestigious background or lots of money to visit our children, but we can leave them a legacy of love. Naomi Rhode

   Your legacy is the lasting influence you leave behind when you depart this world. Many believe it to be the possessions and wealth we do or do not leave behind. A more elevated definition is what we did or did not do to make the world a better place as a result of what we did or did not do with our lives.

    Each of us leaves a legacy. We will have had left either an overall positive or negative impact. Some people create epitaphs at their death. It is a brief and concise phrase intended to capture the essence of who they were, usually a descriptive trait or characteristic. Similarly, a legacy is the net assessment of the influence a person leaves upon the world as a result of having been here. Many people, who lived years ago, still influence the world in major ways. Aristotle, Plato, Jesus, Galileo, Gandhi, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others have left lasting legacies. . There are those whose legacy is anything but positive; Hitler, Stalin, Lenin and Saddam Hussein and others have left despicable legacies.

    Material and financial success is not the true measure of a person’s value. These are temporal. The world’s greatest teachers and philosophers teach that it is the impact we have on others, the good we do, the positive differences we make; these are the things that are truly important. There have been many forgotten wealthy people who have come and gone and remain unknown. There are those who lived in virtual poverty and will be remembered forever:  Jesus, Paul of Tarsus, Gandhi and Mother Teresa are but a few of these.

   Our legacy writes itself. It is written in the hearts and the minds of our family, friends and those that we influence every day. Every day we are creating a legacy. It is the things we do or do not do for others and the overall good that we do or do not do that really counts. A worthy legacy is to be committed to becoming the best person we can be; to be a good example to others by what we say and do; and to help make a difference in the world by the way we live. The more we learn to live for the things that are really important, the more we leave the world a little better when we leave.  

Challenge:  What type of legacy do you desire? What is important to you, things or people? Do you have a positive influence on others? Are you motivated to make a difference? You must decide what really is important to you. This becomes the basis of the legacy you will leave behind.  Are you comfortable with the legacy you are now creating or is it time to reevaluate and make some changes?  What do you want your epitaph to say?

Wisdom: If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are an excellent leader.  Dolly Parton

Spiritual: (NIV):

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.  Proverbs 11:28

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Ecclesiastes 11:1

When we walk with the Lord and allow Him to live in us, we begin to make a positive difference in the lives of others. His example was rich with caring and doing things for others with no concern for himself. It is when we understand and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us that we will increasingly have a positive impact in the lives of those around us. All of us are witnesses and examples. It is hard to be a good example without God’s help.

Prayer:  Help me to increasingly look to you to empower me to live a better life. Help me to let go and let you.                         


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