Patrick Henry's Last Will concluded with the following words: “This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family—the religion of Christ. It can give them a legacy which will make them rich indeed.” I can echo that to the degree that I will have no assets of monetary value to bequeath to my posterity in my Last Will and Testament. I beg to differ with Patrick Henry in that the Christian faith can't be passed on as an inheritance; a relationship with Christ must be established by each person for himself. But yes, it will make them rich indeed, with all the “riches in glory by Christ Jesus....” which will provide for all their needs. (Philippians 4:19)
That is not to say that I have no legacy to leave. A legacy is defined as something tangible or intangible passed on to someone or to some entity after the decease of a person. It can also mean anything handed down from the past as from an ancestor or predecessor, or a gift of property, money, or goods. Actually, my legacy is both tangible and intangible. It consists of words, which is one of the treasured gifts the Lord has generously given to me to use for His Kingdom work.
He has expected me not only to bring forth thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold, but not to hide it in a napkin unused or under a bushel, but on a lampstand. I have tried to open my napkin to share in every way possible with those in my orbit of influence or contacts from the spiritual riches which I have been given in Jesus Christ. It is such a delight to freely give away my valuables!
Truth may be found in many places, so I can embrace it if it is universal truth and God's truth. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest...if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) I happened to view on television a part of the memorial service for noted poet Maya Angelou. Oprah Winfrey was recounting how deeply Maya had influenced her life with her personal words at times of her own crisis or need and sharpened or corrected her own perspective on life. She told about the occasion when she established an orphanage for children somewhere in Africa and expressing to Maya that she thought that would be her legacy more than anything else she will have accomplished. If I remember correctly, Maya differed in her assessment of Oprah's life legacy. “Oh no. I believe it will be all the lives you have touched and changed and encouraged throughout your lifetime, people whom you may never meet or know about.” That is wisdom.
Each of my summit years I have asked God to give me a word for the year that He would have me mine for the gold of its meaning and I have asked Him to teach me how to make it efficacious in my life. Last year the word He gave me was WISDOM. This year my word has been LEGACY.
I am trying to be His faithful steward and sharpen my focus on redeeming the time to leave the kind of legacy the Lord destined for me even before I was born. (Ephesians 1:4-6) That is why I pray each morning for Him to bring into my life that day everyone and only those whom He would either have me touch for Him in some way, and that I may be open to those who would touch me with a word from Him. I ask the Holy Spirit to be my “filter” and keep me from extraneous or trivial pursuits or interruptions not of His appointment.
I express in the following what I perceive as my legacy:
LEGACY OF WORDS
I anticipate leaving Planet Earth some day
'cause sooner or later this body of clay
will pass away but that's okay
because my soul will be happily Elsewhere
and won't need my body for awhile
until Resurrection Day.
I have no worldly goods to bestow
no legacy of material gain
yet I long to leave behind
something of priceless worth
something the next generation will find
of infinite value, some kind
of stepping stones for their life journey
to help steady uncertain feet
as they walk in uncharted ways.
I can bequeath no greater assets
when I leave this transient earth
than words expressed from my heart
sometimes spoken and heard
by ears tuned to listen
and through the printed word
where all may hear my voice
at will in passing years
through the ears of their hearts
as my words remain alive
captured in print
a legacy of spiritual wealth
which I’ve received
from The Word Made Flesh.
I want to pass on to future generations
a bequest of eternal value
not only to my heirs and posterity
my own heritage and progeny
but to all who read my words
that they might claim my whole estate
and inherit everything!