“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
—Psalm 145:4 (ESV)
What’s really important in your life? In death? The pandemic is causing people to rethink priorities—and yes, even their mortality.
When that time comes, what will you be remembered for? You may leave money, property or assets to loved ones, but there’s one thing that’s far more valuable—a legacy of faith.
By being intentional in your relationships, you can help build the kingdom of God for generations to come. If you don’t share the Good News of Christ with family members, who will?
Romans 10:13–14 says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?”
Billy Graham, who shared the Gospel with millions around the world, stressed the value of passing this gift to family and others.
“The memory of what we were like—not just our personalities but our character and our faith—has the potential to influence others for Christ,” he said.
Others like your grandkids, nieces and nephews. Though they’re fun to spoil, that shouldn’t be your only focus. Living out your love and respect for God will leave an indelible impression on them.
“Do they see Christ in you?” Billy Graham challenged. Are you a “living example of His compassion and love”?
>> Watch this short video from three generations of Grahams on the importance of leaving a legacy:
How Do I Start?
First of all, don’t wait; start impacting young members of your family now.
“If they can sense our faith is sincere and our love is authentic, then they will respect us and take us seriously,” said Billy Graham. “This is why it is important to begin building our lives on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ now, instead of waiting until it is too late and the problems of old age overwhelm us.”
Here are 7 ways to live out the legacy you’ll leave:
- Pray often for your family. Ask God to give your children and grandchildren a sense of purpose, direction and mission.
- Share God’s Word and its truths. Study the Bible with them, and let them see you studying on your own. For younger children, read stories from a children’s Bible.
- Leave a will and testament. In his book Nearing Home, Billy Graham wrote: “My prayer is that you will be responsible for settling the business that must take place when living wills and last wills and final arrangements must be made … and more than anything else, let them know where you stand with the Lord Jesus Christ for this will be your lasting legacy.”
- Lead by example and serve others. Teach your family to be doers, not just hearers of God’s Word. Take them along when serving in your community.
- Be an influencer for Christ. Do they see you sharing about God’s saving grace with others? Also teach them about unconditional love toward those around you.
- Buy a blank book and start writing. Jot down significant life memories and how God has guided you. Give it to your grandchildren, who will appreciate it one day. As Moses told the Israelites, don’t forget what God commands of us and what He’s done for us, but share it with the next generation: “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children …” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
- Write your favorite Scripture on a stone. Place it in a visible spot at work or home and when others ask you about it, share your faith story. In the Bible, stones were used to build memorials of God’s faithfulness in Joshua 4 and 1 Samuel 7:12.
Your legacy isn’t limited to what your family remembers about you, but also good friends, acquaintances and strangers. Reach out to others who may be hopeless and point them to a friend—Jesus.
Are you sure you’ll go to heaven when you die? Be sure.
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Help us fulfill our mission of proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all we can by every effective means available to us and by equipping others to do the same.