Funerals always make me introspective. At my church, my pastor likes to have an “open mic” during the service for friends and family to share special memories of their loved one. I always enjoy this because it helps me to better know my friend or loved one who has passed. The stories shared make us laugh and make us cry.
At a recent funeral I attended, over and over people talked about how this gentleman would help anyone. The piano teacher shared how when he saw that her yard was unkempt, he came over and mowed her lawn. When he was on the job in downtown Wilmington, he met an elderly man and renovated his home. For free. He always took tools with him to people’s homes in case they needed him to fix something.
Serving. Giving. Caring. What a legacy.
This service made me wonder – at my own funeral, what would people say about me? What is my legacy?
Of course, even during this funeral, the devil was shouting insults at me about what people would NOT say about me.
They probably would not say that I was always the first to volunteer to bring them meals when they were sick.
They wouldn’t say that I often dropped everything to come to their house when they were upset.
The church secretary would not say that I was always available to meet a need at the last minute.
And the children’s pastor would not talk about how I joyfully served in children’s ministry for years.
When I listen to the devil and the picture that he paints of me, it is not very encouraging. I do not like to cook, I am not a spontaneous, flexible person that will jump in at the last minute, and I really don’t enjoy children’s ministry. If I sat here long enough, I could probably tell you a lot more of my “faults” and what would not be said about me.
We can always make a list of our faults, can’t we? The areas where we seem inadequate and we don’t measure up are always at the tip of our tongues. You can probably rattle off three in the time span that it has taken you to read this sentence. But each of us IS leaving a legacy on this earth. Our legacy doesn’t consist of the things we think we should have done, or what everyone else is doing. Our legacy is made up of the good works that God has created US to do.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Each of us has been created for good works that are tailor-made for us. They are formed around our personalities, our passions, and our talents. We have been created for good works and our good works have been created especially for us.
Our legacy consists of the good works that God has created us to do. And my good works look different than yours.
When you look at your life, at the legacy that you are leaving behind, can you see the good works? It’s hard for me to see mine, but these are the words I hope will be spoken at my funeral. I want these things to be a part of my legacy:
She inspired in me a love of God’s word.
She gave me godly counsel when I was in a tough spot.
She was thoughtful.
She was generous and always giving little gifts.
Her transparency about her struggles gave me hope.
She was the real deal, a sincere Christ-follower.
I want that to be my legacy. As you make a list of what you want your legacy to be, it will be different than mine. It could be drastically different, because you have and I have different personalities, passions, and talents. And that’s the beauty of God’s workmanship – no one of us is the same.
I have a legacy in mind that I want to leave behind, but I can only walk in those good works with God’s help. And I will only leave that legacy if I am intentional to pursue it.
Take a few minutes this week and ask God what legacy you will leave behind. What words do you want to be said about you? How will the span of your existence change the world? What good works were a blessing to those around you?
Be intentional to pursue the good works that God created you to walk in, and ask God for the ability to walk in them.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ~Shannon L. Alder