Your legacy: It’s about the heart, not an epitaph

Legacy is important. It is not what you are, it is unique in that it is who you are!

What are you handing down to the next generation? What are you leaving behind? What will you bequeath, pass on or give to your family and friends?

In other words, what is your legacy?

Regardless of your age, you are preparing your legacy. Not only in money and the “stuff” you are gathering through living life, but the meaningful things that will last for generations. Sure, the tangible and sentimental things that you own carry significance for this earthly world, but the important things you leave behind involve more than just the physical things. These are the memories that will last, the things that involving character, personal experience and life stories that are the true pass-me-downs for generations. This part of your legacy has eternal value and will help to create the paths beyond this finite world.

You don’t leave a legacy on your gravestone or in a will, you write your legacy on hearts and lives and it’s passed on through generations in the stories they tell.

My dad passed away two summers ago. As I conducted the memorial service, I charged dozens of friends and family with the responsibility to carry on his legacy. My dad wasn’t a rich man, but he was a rich man. He provided for his family quite well over the years, spending 41 years with Nabisco and leading a quiet, Christian example.

Billy Graham said: “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.”

But it was the legacy he built throughout his life that he bequeathed to his friends and family. I implored those in attendance at his memorial to carry on that legacy. He left a piece of himself with each one of those people, a part of himself that no one else has.

It was a blessing to hear speaker after speaker talk about the values my dad instilled in them. Some things I knew, others I learned in that moment. It was obvious, though, he had an impact on the lives of many people who will carry his torch into the next generation.

What are you leaving behind? What mantle will your family and friends pick up? What baton will you hand off? What are you putting in your time capsule to be opened when you leave this earth?

Think about it. These are the important things, the vital things, the foundation of the life you are creating and preparing to bequeath. It is your endowment for the next generation. Set aside the money and tangible items. Think of your character, your life experiences, the example and the snapshots in time.

These are the things that matter most. Take the time to write down 5 things you are leaving behind. If you can’t find 5 things, take some time to write down the 5 things you would like to leave behind and start today to write that legacy on the hearts of those closest to you.

Legacy matters. Your legacy matters most. It’s your mantle, your baton.

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