The role of the father in society is not to be diminished, overlooked or underestimated. When a father realizes the extraordinary power his singular life has upon the next generation, he is able to leave ripples in the ocean of eternity.
How easy it is to live for comfort ... for entertainment ... for success ... and for momentary pleasure. But how challenging it is to live for legacy! If a man or a woman chooses to live for legacy rather than for luxury or for self-gratification, one can actually live vibrantly beyond one's human mortality. It is not dying to die. When you have determined to live for legacy, you are strikingly able to impact people on earth even when your address is on some golden street in heaven!
This day, the resounding call from heaven is to live in such a way that your legacy outlives you.
Not every man or woman determines to make their life count beyond that tiny dash on their tombstone.
There was a king in Israel's history who chose not to live for legacy but to live for self. King Jehoram died to no one's regret; his life was a mere 40 years of selfishness, futility and human misjudgment. It was indeed possible for King Jehoram to have left a legacy with a power that matched King David's life and with the astounding honor with which Daniel is remembered. King Jehoram was given the opportunity to be a man of honor and integrity such as Joseph was. But this young king, by the forgettable name of Jehoram, chose not to seek God's will, to ignore God's ways and to live only for comfort and pleasure.
"He was thirty-two when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one's regret. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings" (2 Chron. 21:20, MEV).
It's one thing to die, but it's another thing entirely to die without leaving any type of positive and life-changing legacy. We will all die some day—none of us gets out of here alive—but the most important choice you will make before the day of your death is simply to determine to live for legacy.
One day you will die ... you will take your last breath of oxygen on terra firma and gloriously breathe your first breath of eternity's joy. But on all other days that are given to you this side of heaven, you will live!
Some of the richest legacies have been left by the poorest of people. Some of the most significant of legacies have been crafted by the most insignificant of people. Some of the most lasting of legacies have been left by the youngest of people.
King Jehoram? He was only 40 years old when he died, a relatively young age. This forgettable king had reigned for eight years, which is the same amount of time as a two-term American president. Ronald Reagan served our nation for two terms, as did George W. Bush and William Clinton. All three of these men have left a legacy that will outlive themselves, whether or not you agree with their politics.
No one cried when Jehoram died and no one thought to miss this characterless man. This king was buried, but not with the other kings. King Jehoram was not buried with honor; no professional mourners were hired to weep and wail as his dead body passed by. At this time in history, the greatest honor that a person could attain to was being buried with the kings. King Jehoram had that chance but he chose to ignore it ... to abuse it ... to trifle with it.
David was the first person to be buried in the tombs of the kings. David was not a perfect husband, father or ruler but he left a legacy because of his heart. David had a heart that pursued the Father with every ounce of human strength. David was a man who chose to worship at the very worst moment of his life.
You don't have to be perfect to leave a legacy that outlives your humanity. But perhaps the secret to leaving a resounding legacy is to be a person who pursues God relentlessly and who worships God recklessly.
Will you do it? Will you live for legacy? Will your life inspire others? Are you willing to make hard choices and to serve in the face of insurmountable odds? Your daily choices determine your legacy so choose well, my friend, choose well.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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