On the day God calls us home, we will leave behind two things. If you have kids, you will pass onto them your DNA. The second thing we leave behind is something we have more control over–our legacy. What will people remember about you when you are gone? What legacy will you leave behind?
When I was young, I was an assistant manager for a department store. I was a recent college graduate and I thought I ruled the nest–and I let everybody know it. I was one of the meanest, red power suit-wearing bosses in the history of working women! I didn't delegate, I dictated! What did it get me? Probably several nicknames I never want to hear. I made very few friends and I'm sure many more enemies.
I recalled from my childhood my father's years as a police officer. He was never one that would push his authority. In fact, I don't ever remember him being mean to anyone. He had a reputation for being the “go-to” man in his circles as people knew he would do them right.
One of his jobs was being in charge of the “trustees” (people in jail) and despite their situation, he gave everyone the benefit of a doubt. Instead of letting them set all day in jail, he gave prisoners a chance to redeem themselves by getting outside, mowing, raking, washing cars, etc. He never said much. He was the kind of man who would give you a second change but if you failed it was back in the cell.
I doubt many prisoners took advantage of my dad. Instead they appreciated the man who was kind and treated them as individuals who deserved good care, respect and a chance for redemption. He was highly respected and left a legacy for future officers to follow.
I wish I had remembered that when I was playing “rooster of the henhouse,” as a 25-year-old department store manager. The only legacy I left behind was, “Yay! She's gone! Good riddance.” I have nothing to show for those years except for all the grief I caused people.
Take a look at the people you admire most. Why do you admire them? More than likely you admire them because of their character and heart. What is it that they are really showing us? Many Christians take to heart the writings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament: the greatest goal we can ever reach for is becoming more and more like Jesus Christ himself, running the good race and running it with all our might. I want to finish well. Don't you? Jesus left behind a legacy that will live for eternity. What kind of legacy will you leave?