When I think about the word “legacy,” a couple of things immediately come to mind. One of the first is the title of a publication for an agency where I used to work. I remember spending hours trying to format that publication. The word “legacy” will always be associated with that publication as a result—for better or for worse. As a twenty-something, I also tend to think of older generations. Legacy sounds like something for people that are my parents’ or grandparents’ age. It just doesn’t sound like something that really applies to me, the girl barely out of school and still referred to as a kid in many settings (though admittedly fewer and fewer as the years go by).
The past several years I’ve heard several fantastic sermons and read several blogs, devotionals, and Bible studies on leaving a legacy, forming a legacy, and so on. Hearing and reading those messages has made me associate the word “legacy” with things more powerful than grandma’s inheritance.
I think about the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17). I am utterly amazed by how perfectly the Lord pieced together that lineage, but how He did that with such ridiculously imperfect people.
I think about the race we’re called to finish well (Hebrews 12:1; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 2:2).
I think about the countless Bible accounts where godly men and women finished so poorly (Solomon, Moses, Judas, David…and so many others). Similarly, I think about how God redeemed even the worst screw-ups’ legacies (Exhibit A: Rahab being included in Jesus’ genealogy).
But I also think about the countless godly men and women I’ve seen destroy their reputations, and the many men and women I’ve seen the Lord use to redeem legacies. It is truly amazing to me how God can use one person (or couple) to break generational sins.
Maybe you clicked on this blog out of boredom and you really don’t see how a legacy applies to you. Honestly, I’ve been there. When any preacher introduces a sermon with something about a legacy, there have been times when I just want to roll my eyes. It’s easy to feel like this topic is overdone and it’s easy to feel like it isn’t applicable. How in the world could leaving a legacy apply to me? I’m not married and I don’t have children. Currently my family tree looks like it’s about as big as it’s going to get. While I pray that many of the generational sins tainting the color of that tree stop with me, I don’t see new life budding without those stains. Right now I just see the sins stopping and then the tree being chopped down for someone to use as firewood. What kind of a legacy is that?
It’s not one.
But it’s also a lie from hell.
Remember Matthew 12:49-50 (HCSB),
And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, that person is My brother and sister and mother.”
Yes, biological family is a blessing from the Lord. Yes, God designed families. But God designed an even more amazing blessing through a family of believers.
Don’t get me wrong, I love family. Saying “good-bye” to my grandparents as a little girl was horrible for me. The thing I wanted more than anything was to live in the same state as my family. Since I was a little girl I’ve prayed for family. Since I was a little girl that prayer continues to go unanswered. Instead of drawing family closer or growing my family, it seems like more and more family members die or move away. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the family I have, but I yearn for that to grow and for them to be closer.
God has answered the heart of that prayer though. He’s provided grandparents, parents, siblings, and even children through His Church. We may not look alike or share the same genes, but the bond and unity that lies within those relationships is something words don’t do justice. It’s too much of a deep, beautiful experience to describe. My heart still aches for biological family, but oh how sweet the spiritual legacy God provides.
So what’s your legacy? Who has the Lord used to bring spiritual life? For me, it would take more than a 700-word blog to list those that have gone before me in my spiritual family tree. Finally, who are you pouring into? The branches coming from mine are more sparse than they should be, but what an encouragement to see the ones I have blooming.