Joshua chapter 4 made me think about the importance of leaving a legacy. Obviously, it is important to help others and make a difference while we are actually engaged with people, but it is possible to have an even longer term impact.
Jos 4:6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
Jos 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
Of course, these verses bring up something that I purposely did not mention in my opening paragraph. The legacy that we leave should point people directly to God.
It is nice to have people remember us as individuals positively, but it is ultimately more important that they remember that we followed God. Maybe they will remember that we were always kind to people who were not kind to us, or maybe they will remember that we had some type of peacefulness that no one could explain but was always there.
This is the type of legacy that we all should want to leave behind. We should want people to remember something through us that would point them to God.
As a slight digression, our legacy does not need to wait until we die. When we meet someone and perhaps will never see them again, what they remember about us is somewhat our legacy. I am using the term here to mean what people remember about us whether we are alive or not.
I would challenge all of us to think about what we are doing in our lives. When people think about each one of us, are we helping to point them towards Jesus, or are they really not noticing anything different? Even though it is often easier to fit in, I hope that we all stand out.
As a business administration major at the University of Vermont, we have a department that deals with family businesses. One of the biggest problems among family businesses involves keeping the business running after the original founder has retired or passed away.
Moses had similar worries in Numbers 27. He knew that he was going to die relatively soon, but he wanted the people of Israel to keep running behind a solid leader.
Num 27:16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
Num 27:17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
Num 27:18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
Num 27:19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
Num 27:20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
Obviously, God was in charge of the whole operation, but Moses wanted to make sure that there would be someone leading Israel who would be able to lead the people toward God like Moses himself had done.
Leaving a legacy should be important to all of us as Christians. We don’t necessarily need to die or move away, but we should leave behind the love of God wherever we go. People should know that there is something different about us.
We should try to leave something positive behind whenever we meet anyone. Whether it is through our kindness, honesty or joy, we need to help and encourage people.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.