The deaths of a young nephew and cousin, my own health issues, and an End of the Year review course have caused me to do some thinking regarding the question
“At the end of your life, what legacy do you want to leave?”
Many people (probably most) think of a legacy in terms of things, money, and Last Will and Testaments. But when you get right down to it, the only lasting legacy is our relationships with others. What if the only legacy you can leave is less tangible than things or money? Perhaps you want to leave a spiritual legacy, a family history or family stories, some type of knowledge, or even just a legacy of love for those left behind. How do you do it?
“How do you pass on a legacy, when your way of passing it on must be different?”
I was reminded of these two questions recently, while reading the Letter to the Philippians found in the Bible’s New Testament. The Apostle Paul is the author of the letter, and apparently had similar questions. He gave this charge to the readers of his letter in Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 9:
“The things which you learned,
and saw in me,
and the God of peace will be with you.”
So there are at least two steps to creating a legacy: 1) Figure out what your legacy will be, and 2) Figure out the best way to pass it on. The Next Action – the doing – is up to the recipients of the legacy.
What is My Legacy?
In looking back over my life, I can think of no better legacy to leave than that which I received from my parents and many others in my life: a love of the Holy Bible, the word of God. I remember waking at an early hour, only to find my mother ahead of me, reading her Bible, usually with a cat or dog on each side of her. My father was also a lover of the Bible, leaving myself and my siblings marginal notes of how the Bible verses had blessed him, and even a sermon or two. I hope Mom and Dad’s legacy lives on not only in my siblings and myself, but also in the lives of the seminary students who frequented our dinner table and home for long discussions.
Since 1973 I have been committed to reading the Bible daily. Sometimes I have the luxury of spending hours reading, studying and seeking to understand how to rightly apply what I read to my own life. Sometimes I have five minutes to read, some days I make bad time choices and race around getting less-important things done, doing my best to remember a verse previously read. And some days I fail miserably, spending my time doing frivolous, or even good, things, but leaving out or rebelling against the Most Important and Best. When that happens I usually have a more miserable day than I would have otherwise.
Why is the Bible the treasure I would like to leave to others? I have gone to it in tears of sorrow over something that’s happened in my life, someone else’s life, or the world – and found others that have been in like situations. I have charged God with not fulfilling His own promises, and have found reason to trust Him again. I have gone to it in times of joy so great my own words could not express what my heart felt and only ancient words from the Bible could speak adequately.
I have found it to consistently be a source of
comfort in sorrow
clarity in confusion
wisdom for life, work, and relationships,
and, most of all,
a source of understanding the Lord Jesus Christ,
whose story permeates all its pages and Who lives on.
“Your whole life should have as its aim to assimilate the thoughts, judgments, desires, words, and actions of Jesus Christ”
– Blessed Father Basile Moreau, CSC (as quoted in
Gravitating Toward God: Thoughts for Each Day from Basile Moreau.
Holy Cross Institute, Austin, Texas. )
I invite you to join me in reading the Bible through this year. To join me, send your request via the the contact form below. There is also room for any questions or suggestions you may have. In return, I’ll send you a free Simple Bible Reading Plan, to enable you to track your progress. I look forward to hearing from you! –
Laura D. Sanders