Legacy: a heritage; something transmitted by an ancestor.
But a legacy means so much more than this definition.
We recently attended a celebration service for the father of some friends we’ve known for several years. We’d known their father, although not as well as we’d liked, and he had indeed been a wonderful man. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was a talented jazz musician who played the trombone in his church’s orchestra, as well as singing bass in their men’s vocal group for as many years as we can remember. He loved the Lord, and instilled that love in each of his children, and in their children as well. He had loved his wife of over 65 years, and her death the previous year had not quenched that love.
We have never heard anyone speak a bad word against this man. Unpretentious to the end, he would enter a room and greet those already there not by saying, “I’m here!” and wanting people to pay attention to him, but by taking someone’s hand and telling them, “I’m glad you’re here!” And he made them feel as if they were the most important person in the room at that time.
His adult grandchildren spoke about him at the service, along with two of his children, choking back tears as they recounted stories about him, all with one common theme. His unfailing love for them; his devotion to family; his willingness to reach out to anyone who needed him; and a faith he was not hesitant or embarrassed to proclaim. Even in the last week of his life he was
praising the Lord with his family as he listened to some of his favorite music.
And when his casket was rolled out of the service, the trombonist played “When the Saints Go Marching In”. We all clapped in rhythm; some danced in place. Because we could all picture him marching through heaven’s gates, his new heavenly trombone in hand, waiting to greet his Lord and reunite with his beloved wife who left him a year previously. We could also hear the Lord telling him, “well done, my good and faithful servant…”
He was a gentle man, not rich in wealth, although he always provided for his family, but rich in his love and friendship to everyone around him. Rich in the number of lives he touched, and the number of lives he’d made a difference in. Rich in family and friends.
This 95 year old man left behind an amazing and powerful legacy to be remembered by all who knew him.
You see, a legacy is not measured in terms of money, your last title at your job, how many homes you had, how expensive your car was, how many vacations you took, or how famous you may have been.
Legacy is passed on from one generation to the next, or in this man’s case, to several generations. Your legacy is how you lived your life, and what you taught others about how to live theirs. How many lives you touched and impacted. By example, by actions; not by mere words.
Your true legacy cannot be left to others in a will. It is not tangible; you can’t hold it in your hand or deposit it in your bank account.
Your legacy is remembered, and reflected in the lives you touched. It is reflected in their works and how they live their life patterned after yours. This man left a true and remarkable legacy that is lived out every day in the lives of his children and their children and grandchildren.
I only pray I am able to leave behind a small portion of the type of legacy this man left behind.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
Featured Image from http://www.EmbeddedFaith.org