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What Are You Leaving Behind?

Psalm 78:6-7 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.’The Public Trustee’s Office, funded by the Queensland Government, in Australia, offers a unique and generous service. All Queensland residents are able to access the office to have a will or legal matters dealt with free of charge. So armed with family history details and identification papers, my husband and I trundled off for an appointment, deciding to have our wills drawn up. Some two hours later, we exited the building knowing that we had left a legacy to those closest to us and the matter was finally dealt with. Leaving a legacy. Is it really as simple as having a will drawn up? Perhaps not.

Do we want to be remembered for the possessions that we left to our family after we leave this earth, or do we want to be remembered for far more than that? Lasting legacies are shaped not by what acquisitions we leave behind, but how we love. Legacies are built from the little things we do each day: the caring words we offer, the smile we bring when another is down, the encouraging letters or cards we write, the small but meaningful acts of kindness we do, the ways we generously give to our spouse or children. Will we be remembered for the way we love? And will we be remembered for the way we love our LORD, faithfully doing the work to which God has called us to do, without complaining?

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Paul encourages the church in Thessalonica to lead a quiet life, mind their own business and work diligently with their hands, so that they may win the respect of others, even those outside the faith. The everyday, quiet, faithful acts of working hard, respecting and loving others, and obeying God form the foundation of our legacies and help us to win the respect of others.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loves us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

Paul implored his readers to walk in the way of love, emulating the way Christ loves us. Do we want to be remembered as someone who did their best every day to walk in the way of love? Mother Theresa said, ‘Do small things with great love.’ There is no outstanding fanfare here. We just obediently do the loving thing each day as God provides us with opportunity.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

For some of us, the damage we have created in past relationships, obliterates the good and reputable legacy that we had hoped to sow. But the broken pieces of our past do not need to define our legacy. God’s glory shines brightly in and through us when we are made new in Christ and live out our new identity in Him. In Christ, we have a second chance to set things right.

It’s never too late to courageously take the story of our life and set it in a new direction. To take steps towards forming a new legacy that is God-honoring. A legacy that means exceedingly more than the material possessions we leave behind.

What do you want to be remembered for? Your acquisitions or something far more lasting and significant? Take heart: those who own little in terms of possessions in this world, can in fact, leave a more valuable legacy than many who have much. In Christ we can leave behind the sweet aroma of His love and gospel to those generations that come after us. The greatest legacy we can leave our children is that they like us, might set their hope on God and faithfully follow His commandments. This is the only legacy that has lasting permanence, brings the greatest of blessing to our family and ultimately, glory to God.

Dearest LORD, help me to consider solemnly what I am leaving behind for the blessing and benefit of my family. Whether I have little or much in terms of material possessions, means nothing in light of sharing Jesus and His teachings with my family. Help me to love passionately, give generously, share willingly and declare Your Word courageously. May the legacy I leave behind be both inspiring and transformative to my family, and speak of Your wonder, goodness and glory. Amen. “

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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  1. Such a beautiful post Jennifer.
    Thank you for sharing this important message with us.
    So true and written with your heart!
    God Bless~

  2. Psalm 78:6-7 is part of my life mission statement and legacy. Long after I am gone people in the next generation will still be reading my articles.

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