I’m the kind of person who cries at every funeral. But I’m also the kind of person who leaves each funeral deep in thought.
Funerals make me ponder life and death and consider what it means to live life well. They make me think about success and failure. They make me think about the person who passed away, and all my memories with him or her. They make me think about the legacy they left.
For years, I struggled with understanding what it meant to leave a good legacy. What did living a life that others would remember well really look like? What did I have to achieve to be sure that my life would leave a good legacy? What “good deeds” did I have to do?
The more I pondered it, the more I realized that a legacy is simply someone’s last message to the world. A message that goes beyond the funeral.
What do you want people to remember about you?
It’s in the moment of saying good-bye that we often remember the most random details. He used to stand by the piano and listen to everyone’s conversations. She used to curl her hair toward the inside. He used to squeeze my hand tightly when he shook it.
But what do we want others to remember about us? What do I want people to say about me after I’ve died?
She was a true encourager. He always stayed to tidy up after the party ended. She loved to talk about what she learned from the Bible. He had a smile for everyone he met.
How do you leave a good legacy?
It happens too often that once a person passes away, secrets are uncovered. Secret betrayal, secret sin, and so on. A person who may have looked good for the longest time becomes suddenly associated with not the good they did, but the bad that came to light.
During our life, we can do a lot of hiding. We can choose what we show others, and hide away what we don’t want them to see. It’s at the point of death that we can no longer control and hide. It’s then when many a secret comes to light.
Is that what I want my last message to the world to look like? How can I make sure I’m not hiding the truth about myself? The more I thought about it, the more I realized it comes down to one question:
Are you the same person in private as you are in public?
Do you sing songs about God’s love, but forget to show this love to others? Do you post about how it’s so important to “love your neighbor,” and a minute later, go and yell at a sibling? Do you send a friend a challenging Bible verse, but completely forget to “do everything without complaining” when your mother asks you to help out?
If you live your public life the same as your private one, you’ll have nothing to hide. If your private and public lives are identical, then there won’t be any negative surprises. Your last message to the world won’t be an ugly surprise, but a beautiful affirmation.
It’s how you live your life in the hidden moments, when no one is watching, that defines your legacy.
Leaving a Legacy that Lasts
Leaving a good legacy doesn’t mean creating something good for people to remember you by at your funeral. It doesn’t mean writing a book or starting an organization.
Leaving a good legacy means living a life of integrity, even if no one will ever find out about it. It means being a servant of Christ, not a star of this world. It means bowing before God, not self. It means living well in the hidden.Leaving a good legacy means being a servant of Christ, not a star of this world. It means bowing before God, not self. It means living well in the hidden. Click To Tweet
Your last message to the word is influenced by how you live today. It all comes down to one question: How do you live your life when no one but God is watching?