Legacy: What You Did Because of Who You Became
Your legacy is what you leave after you are gone. The influence we leave is far more important than money and/or possessions we leave. An epitaph is a statement written in remembrance of someone who has died. This is usually an inscription on a tombstone. Everyone is going to die. What will they write about you after you are gone? What legacy will you leave?
Here are two epitaphs from the word of God:
Jehoram: The 5th King of the Southern Kingdom of Judah
- 2 Chronicles 21:20 KJV Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. ……
Josiah: The 16th King of the Southern Kingdom of Judah
- 2 Chronicles 35:24-25 …... So he died, and was buried in one of the tombs of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. (25) Jeremiah also lamented for Josiah. And to this day all the singing men and the singing women speak of Josiah in their lamentations. They made it a custom in Israel; and indeed they are written in the Laments.
What a startling difference! Both were kings in the same area. One was despised; the other was sorely missed. Why? Because of who they became! One became evil; the other became godly. This is why your destiny is not what you do; it is who you become. You will “do” whatever you “do” because of who you “become”. (See: Destiny: Not What You Do, But Who You Become.)
Jehoram: His father was good king Jehoshaphat, but Jehoram liked to associate with King Ahab, the wicked king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He married Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter. On accession to the throne he murdered all his brothers. He worshipped heathen gods and caused the nation of Judah to do likewise. He took the path of the godless, the irreverent and the proud. He was selfish, sinful and impure. He became a despised man and when he died no one cared. His legacy was turning a nation from God and they were glad when he died. He lived ungodly and a nation suffered.
Josiah: He was eight years old when he became king. His father was wicked King Amon. Yet Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. At sixteen he sought after the God of King David. At twenty he purged Judah and Jerusalem of idolatry. At twenty-six he had the house of God repaired. He found the Word of God there, read it, and led the nation in a revival. At twenty-six he also made a covenant with the LORD to walk after the LORD by doing what God’s Word said and he brought national revival by leading the nation of Judah to join him in this covenant. The Bible records he had a tender heart, he humbled himself, and he wept over sin.
Who we become will determine our legacy! If we desire to leave a godly legacy then we will walk in righteousness. Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. (See: What is the Kingdom of God?) Our influence will live long after we are gone. For most people an epitaph on a tombstone is all we know about them; however, their legacy has affected the generations that followed. They did what they did because of who they had become.
Legacy is a heart matter! Jesus said we will know people by their fruit.
- Matthew 12:33 …. for a tree is known by its fruit
- Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
The condition of our heart will determine our legacy!
- Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
- Proverbs 23:19 Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way.
- Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; (24) And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
- Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
- Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
When we, from our heart, make Christ Lord of our life then God goes to work to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). And Christ in us makes us into a new person enabling us to live righteously (2 Corinthians 5:17). When Christ is King, we will bring forth good fruit and thereby leave a godly legacy. As we allow Jesus to be the Vine and us the branch, then we will bring forth much fruit (John 15:1-8). Christ in us is the hope of a godly legacy (Colossians 1:27).
- We all die.
- We all leave a legacy.
- Who we became will determine what that legacy is.
Jehoram or Josiah? Judas or John? Who we became will determine what we did, and what we did will be remembered.
For Coaches of the Significant life: One of our objectives as a significant life coach is to help our coachee think soberly about the legacy he/she will leave. A life that is committed to Christ will follow God and have a godly impact on this world. To do this we learn to die to self and take up our cross daily. I need the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit daily in order to become what God created me to become.