When many hear the word ‘legacy’, their minds run to what they stand to gain. Where does it lead you? The person who built this stile might have hoped his or her legacy would have lasted somewhat better than this broken down remnant. By definition, a legacy is what we leave behind for those who follow. Mostly, the legacy is a bequest of physical possessions and assets to family members, friends or others who we may want to bless. Sometimes there may be legacy issues leading to a squabble over a Will. Perhaps a dispute may arise from an aggrieved person who feels left out or hard done by. However, the truth is that we all give legacies in life and in death to all those who are part of our lives. The abandoned footpath sign accompanying this broken stile is a poor legacy. Contrast that with the better legacy given by the person who taught you to read a map and use a compass. Now is a good time then to consider the legacy you give to others each day.
- ‘Legacy is not what I did for myself. It's what I'm doing for the next generation’ – Vitor Belfort
- ‘The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith’ – Billy Graham
- ‘That is your legacy on this Earth when you leave this Earth: how many hearts you touched’ – Patti Davis
- ‘My mother always told me that as you go through life, no matter what you do, or how you do it, you leave a little footprint, and that's your legacy’ – Jan Brewer
William Shakespeare left an odd legacy to his wife Anne Hathaway – he stated that his ‘second-best bed’ should go to her while the vast bulk of his estate went to his daughter Susanna! In 2004, Billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley left instructions for her $4 billion fortune to be spent caring for dogs whilst her own nine-year-old Maltese dog, Trouble, received $12 million in the Will. Some of her grandchildren were cut out of her Will and others were required to visit their father’s grave annually in order to inherit their share. A judge subsequently cut Trouble’s inheritance to just $2 million but there were still death and kidnap threats against the dog! Whilst these may cause amusement, no doubt they caused hurt and pain within those families.
Celebrities are from immune to such sorrows with many having difficult relationships in life that apparently contributed to early deaths of their offspring. Actor Marlon Brando’s daughter, Cheyenne Brando, hanged herself in 1995 at the age of just 25. Superstar Paul Newman’s son Scott Newman, an aspiring actor in his own right, was found dead in a hotel after overdosing on pills and alcohol in 1978. Sylvester Stallone’s son, Sage Stallone, died at the age of 36. Bobbi Kristina Brown, the 22-year-old daughter of the late superstar singer Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown died after being found face down in a bath. If you have children, have you considered not only the bequest you might leave them in your Will but the living legacy investment that you give them each day? Every discussion and action is either investing in their character or robbing them of happy memories and a good example. Whilst you draw breath, it’s never too late to make better investments with family or friends.
- ‘Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates’ – Deuteronomy 11:18-20
- ‘Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character’ – 1 Corinthians 15:33
- ‘Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’ – Matthew 5:15-16
- ‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts’ – Colossians 3:16
- ‘I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also’ – 2 Timothy 1:5
As you reflect on those who have invested into your life, there will be those who spring to mind who greatly blessed you and there will be those who did not. Whilst it is good to make financial provision for offspring and to avoid legacy issues through the wise writing of your Will, it is even better to love and pray for them that they may have the treasures of heaven in their hearts and in their eternities. Jesus taught that moths and rust lead to the decay of most material possessions in one way or another but his legacy is one that never spoils or fades. Likewise, we can all give godly living legacies into the lives of others which can bless them now and into eternity. Perhaps it’s time to repair the odd stile, to fix a damaged sign post and to teach someone how to read a map to navigate better in life.
https://studio.youtube.com/video/geo_NCCizMo/edit - ‘All at Sea’ (a video about relationships)
TAGS – restoration, healing, forgiveness, reparation, fresh start, repentance, beginnings