Sooner or later you’ll think about what you left behind in your life, the legacy, overall content of your values, goals, habits and perhaps inspiration for good or ill with regard to how you influenced people you loved most.
Families and friends head the list, then others whom you may have worked with or in some way affected over your span of days on this planet.
While I am aware blues legend Johnny Winter recently died, I must say I have neither any sense of impending doom nor immediate danger to myself, rather, the concept of legacy is something I’ve thought about since my earliest days.
When your main thing in life is communication via either speaking, lyrics and singing or writing you might naturally consider impact, even worry over positive or negative output.
If you love and want to love God and people more and more (rather than either stagnate or love them less) you think and pray, edit and re-think, pray and edit before you hit “send”, online or in metaphoric terms.
Nobody best edits themselves, not even editors. The finest surgeons cannot operate on themselves. This is where collaboration and wise, gracious but brutally honest friends provide the most important input into my life. All this to say I’ve been served amazingly well over my lifetime with such friendships and editors.
That said, if anybody reading this has ever been on the receiving end of one of my many blundering, flawed, rambling bits of communication (if you could even call it that at times) you’d easily understand my regrets, remorse and concern over such flat tires throughout my life.
Nobody is a full-on failure, but equally no human is without sin, especially in what they’ve said or done (see James chapter 3 for starters).
And so over my (currently) 61 years of family, marriage, speaking, singing and writing I look back on a legacy that is traceable.
Because communication is the funnel-down of what I’ve done most in my life, Jesus’ words about God’s judgment over “every careless word” uttered has long been a conscious issue. Alas, if not for God’s mercy, nada!!
But here’s the other part of the picture.
The vast- and I mean at times overwhelming, humbling and “how but for the grace of God do I receive this…” kind encouragement from people who have come to saving faith, healing on various levels, help in understanding and wading through life’s troubles via something I said, sung, did or simply paying them a bit of attention at some point is just an incredible gift. A gift. Often in my view, a truly undeserved gift from Abba (meaning, Father God).
I have so very often failed in love, kindness, gentleness, compassion and grace and I know it. Certainly nobody knows themselves as God -truly- knows them. I’m not so foolish as to believe all the good stuff in the press and reviews, recognize some of the “fan mail” is merely that and nothing more. I also fully recognize folks project halos or conversely, horns over the heads of people they’ve decided are Christ-figures or demonic, so I carry no illusions about that either.
I think one way of considering our true legacy if boiled down in simple terms is perhaps two-sided:
Perhaps one’s legacy is the truth of what people think and say in terms of your actual influence in their lives -and in the end, it’s literally what God thinks about your influence during your life span.
For me, that sums it up.
I would expect there are those who have been inspired by you and I to be loving, giving, sacrificial, kind and helpful as well as those who may well think you and I been quite the opposite in each of these areas. I expect the reality is that we’ve each and all been both depending on the moment.
What does God think, or what might He think on the day you see His face and give account?
I’ve thought about that a lot, and think it very helpful along the path.
Respecting Him, His Word and the integrity of both is crucial, for He will never change nor end. There is an end to our legacy.
The longer I live, the more I’m thankful for Jesus and what He brings to mine. Let me be very clear- there is no righteousness in self, but in Christ.
He alone brings life to legacy!
I have never been more convinced that in the end, what He says will matter most 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn