“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”- Billy Graham
It was a tumultuous Spring….and now it is Summer and as is typical, a week home from work and I am too much in my own head. Within my reflections and meditations, I have begun hearing this word: Legacy over and over.
I looked it up. A legacy is, by law, a gift of money or property left after a person dies or anything handed down by the past. We know it as what we leave behind once our time on Earth has ended …… specifically, what mark we make and how we are remembered. And I have been thinking about this a lot.
You, see last month, very unexpectedly, my maternal grandmother died. I feel so grateful that my mother had the foresight to go to Ohio when she entered the hospital and was able to spend almost a week with her before it happened. Mom was on her way home (because Grandma was supposed to be going home as well) when she got the call. I spoke to Grandma on the phone that week and she was more concerned about her sister’s poor health and whether Aunt Arti “was ready to go” than she was with her own health.
My Grandma had this beautiful, hearty, gusty laugh. And she laughed a lot. When it is quiet, I can close my eyes and hear her. Things were often not always rosy, easy, or ideal for my Mom’s family, however, what I remember from my Grandma Leslie is that she loved Jesus. You know those memories that you have that are almost tangible? — The ones that you can allow yourself to get caught up in and relive? Almost all of the memories I have about my Grandma are centered around her loving Jesus, loving us, and encouraging faith.
Grandma was a member of Rejoice, a women’s ministry group. The first time I ever remember feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit was with this group of women praying earnestly over my sister and me, as our family was preparing to move South. (This was also when I was introduced to Seven Layer Salad, a favorite of mine!) Grandma was always singing… whether in her head or out loud. She once chastised me for calling her silly while she sang “Jesus Loves Me” to a litter of frightened, abandoned kittens as she tried to sooth them. “Cody, why shouldn’t I sing about Jesus to these kittens? Jesus cares about them just as much as He cares for you…”
My Grandma left a legacy.
And this week, my church family lost a great man of God; an Elder in the church and mentor to many, he lost his battle with pulmonary fibrosis. My life was touched and impacted greatly by Mr. Tom, and my family only met him upon our move to Milledgeville, five years ago. In that short time, I watched Mr. Tom edify and encourage my husband in his role in the church. I watched him lead, week after week by example, love on my children and for me, his encouragement to pursue Seminary helped me to take the leap of faith and do it. For a year, I led weekly Bible Study for the adults on Wednesday nights. This sweet man prayed for me weekly, thanked me for my lesson and did nothing but build me up while I was trying out my teaching skills in the church. He offered to write me a letter of recommendation for my Seminary application and during many personal upsets was there with a prayer, a hug and a sincere “I love you.”
And this is my testimony of Tom’s Jordan’s impact for the Kingdom. I know I speak for many when I say that he left a hole, not likely to be filled. He was loved by many and his eternal impact of growing the Kingdom of God is not easily measured. He is singing with the angels in Glory.
Mr. Tom left a legacy.
And I am moved, convicted and wrestling with how I will be impacted by these examples. What will I do for the kingdom? How will my children remember me? What words will my former students and co-workers use to describe me when I am gone?
Right now, I know I have a long way to go. I internally groan every time I hear myself raise my voice, curse under my breath or even find myself prioritizing chores over devotions, Nathan, or playing with my children…… lots of room for improvement.
This is my challenge – working to leave something that will ripple and impact others beyond my daily human failings. I am trying to see things through an eternal lens; one that sees beyond the messy house, disheveled children, and pursuit of Earthly, material things to see (without reminding) souls that need saving, people that need loving and a world that needs to be introduced to Christ.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20 ASV