On July 11, 2019, my husband’s grandmother, Evangelina, went to be with our Lord at the age of 97. Evangelina lived a life of service to God; a devout Catholic, she vowed to live a life of obedience, humility, and poverty. On the night of her rosary, her spiritual family joined hands, surrounded her coffin, and serenaded her for the last time. As I sat in silence, I tuned in to the beautiful lyrics and began to weave the memory into my mind. I pondered the stories of personal witness that were shared by Evangelina’s spiritual family. It was very touching.
Days after the funeral the word “legacy” lingered in my mind. I had never considered it before. To be honest, it’s painful to think about. Typically, one leaves a legacy behind to their children, but sadly, my womb never carried a child. Proverbs describes a good man as leaving an inheritance to his children (Proverbs 13:22, NLT). So is that it? Am I off the hook?
NO! As a Christian, one should strive to leave a legacy built on the solid foundation of the Holy Bible. The way we think, communicate, and act leaves a legacy to those around us and can either move someone closer to God or lead them further away. Therefore, we must realize that everything we say and do leaves a legacy.
Living an authentic biblical worldview means allowing your relationship with God to illuminate every environment He places us in. Gordon T. Smith, author of Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-given Potential, says, “To be true to ourselves is to be true to how God has made us, how God has created our personalities, how God has given us ability, talent, and passion.” A biblical worldview is essentially Christus Nexus, Christ at the center; His life and lessons are fundamental to the core of who we are. When a person decides to view the world behind a biblical lens, he or she should strive to live out those principles at every opportunity.
Biblical communication is the starting point of leaving a solid legacy. However, it does not mean sending unsolicited daily Bible verses to your family, friends, and colleagues or closing your digital communications with “Many Blessings.” Doing these things may cause offense and create a negative response. Biblical communication requires a thoughtful process based on knowing your audience. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4, He knew her culture (John 4:9, NLT), He knew her story (John 4:17, NLT), and He knew how impactful her work would be to His ministry (John 4:29, NLT). Ask yourself this question: “How well do I know the people around me?”
Leaving an authentic biblical legacy also requires personal sacrificial action. This does not mean sending unsolicited invitations to a Bible study or unwanted invites to attend church. When people are not seeking spiritual counsel, these actions can do more harm than good. Some examples of sacrificial action are: accepting and giving grace (James 4:6, NLT), uplifting and motivating others (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT), being an example of moral and productive work (2 Peter 1:5, NLT), leading others creatively (1 Kings 3:12, NIV), and listening to grievances and providing positive change and justice (Proverbs 21:15, NIV). Smith says, “We never want to lose an appreciation that work in the end is a means of service, offered to God for the sake of others. This is enough to make our actions a religious and selfless act.” Ask yourself this question: “Am I listening well?”
A biblical legacy can also be volunteering or creating new processes for the next generation. For example, mentoring in your church youth ministry, writing Bible study curriculums, or leading community service projects. Smith says this type of work brings a sense of integrity as “we grow in appreciation of the needs of others.” Legacy is what you pass on to the next generation. It is an idea or action that lives on after you have left. Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation commends your works to another” (NIV). Ask yourself this question: “How can I model Christ’s love to others?”
Whatever our actions, if we have a biblical worldview, we understand that God called us to the work we do, and it becomes our purpose. Jesus said in John 17:4, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (NIV). Ultimately, the legacy of Jesus’ work on the cross is our hope — an everlasting heritage to the world through His teaching and His sacrificial action. Biblical insight can bring depth and meaning to our actions and the relationships we build there.
1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (NIV).
We can choose to think, act, and communicate in accordance with the Holy Spirit as a foundation for leaving a rich legacy to the next generation.