What is a legacy? A legacy is simply something you leave behind. It what lives on well after you are gone. The reality is every person will leave a legacy, but not everyone will leave the same legacy. It really all comes down to the decisions we make.
Paul wrote in Philippians, “… pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example” (Philippians 3:17). In other words, I am going to live a life that you can model – I don’t just want to live, I want to leave my mark on this world. Paul. The writer Philippians. Remember he is writer this letter from a prison cell. He is looking over his life and realized that much of what He had done in his past was good, but not great.
He basically said …
He obeyed the law without a mistake
He was a member of the most prestigious club
But yet … all the knowledge … all the relationships … all the experience … was not going to live on beyond his life. He said, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done” (Philippians 3:7). Paul wanted to change his legacy. He wanted to alter what he would be remembered for. Legacy. It’s more important than what you know. It is who you are and what you pass on.
My grandparents handed down a legacy. They both came to faith in Christ later on in life. My grandfather, Leonard Janik, born in 1914 – served in the military and retired from the railroad - and my grandmother, Genevieve Skarupinski, born in 1916 and worked most of her adult life as a seamstress. They both inspired me in different ways.
My grandfather taught me maturity, wisdom and endurance.
My grandmother taught me tithing, a love for God’s Word and reading.
I learned from “those with a good example” how to pattern my life. They gave us more than an inheritance or a savings account - they passed on to our family a spiritual legacy of faith, hope and love.
YOU DONT PASS ON WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT WHAT YOU SOW.
The Apostle Paul had this down. That’s why he wrote numerous books, planted over 20 churches, and inspired a generation of leaders. He did not just know things … he SOWED things.
The same is true of Jesus. He had all the knowledge of Heaven, but he did not just rest on what he knew … he wanted to show people the goodness of His father.
Scripture declares, “If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works …” (James 3:13).
WORDS LEAVE A LEGACY
Words have incredible power. The Bible declares, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11-ESV) Solomon is saying when a word comes at the right time it is like gold to the person hearing it. Gold and silver symbolize investment. When you are speaking the right words you are leaving a legacy of lifetime investment. Words matter!
Solomon also said, “… it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time” (Proverbs 15:23). Choose your words carefully. Guard your tongue! Speak life to those around you. Build up. Lift up.
Be the person who always “speaks a word in due season” because words leave a legacy.
LIFE IS NOT ABOUT MAKING AN IMPRESSION, BUT AN INVESTMENT
You can impress someone from a distance – but you make an investment up close. Athletes impress me. Movie stars impress me. But they cannot invest in me. I don’t want to be impressed - I want to be invested in. And I don’t want to impress people - I want to invest in their lives. That’s why Paul said, “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith” (Philippians 3:1).
God did not call you to make a dent, He called you to make a difference. Invest in your children. Invest in your marriage. Invest in your family. Invest in your co-workers. Invest in your friends. Make the right deposits in peoples lives and watch your ROI grow … your Return On Investment grow to “safeguard” those around you.
IMPACT 1,000 GENERATIONS
A generation is seen typically as 25 years. “So you are telling me, I can leave my mark so strong that it will impact people 25,000 years after me.”
The Scripture declares, “Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9). Your can build a legacy of faith that will last 25,000 years after you are gone.
And all you have to do is two things:
If you do those two things you can impact 1000 generations. I want to leave my mark. I want to make an impact. I want to invest in a thousand generations after me; just by loving God and living by His Word.
Start building your legacy today.