My husband Bill just released a new book, 7 Simple Skills for Every Man, and in it are the keys to unlock success in bite-sized pieces. Starting life well is one thing, but completing a life well, finishing the race to hear God congratulate you, “Well done.” That is true success! Success is in the legacy.
You were created to build a legacy. It is in your DNA and in God’s design. As he was delivering the 10 commandments, he included these words, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:5). Notice that your influence goes three or four generations deep simply because you are alive. Verse 5 is the negative side of the formula which has received a lot of attention over the years because it is ominous and dramatic. Verse 6 points out that our positive influence is just as powerful as any negative influence we may engender. “. . . but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
The point is inescapable. You were put on earth to influence generations of people who have yet to be born. You live in a world, however, that fights against this kind of thinking. We are encouraged to be self-absorbed, self-centered and focused on self-gratification. I took a look at current advertisements for examples of buying into a self-absorbed approach to life. Some of them included:
An ad for online greeting cards: “I don’t care what you think of me. Unless you think I am awesome. In which case, you are right.”
An ad for gum says, “A little piece of happy.”
A soft drink ad simply says, “open happiness.”
An ad for Sea-Monkeys says, “Own a bowlful of happiness.”
Automobile ad: “It’s as wild as you want it to be.”
Automobile ad: “Amazing from every point of view.”
Automobile ad: “What’s in it for you?”
There is, of course, nothing wrong with gum, greeting cards, soft drinks and automobiles, but they can’t bring happiness or take the place of a legacy that helps your grandchildren and great-grandchildren live better lives. Building a legacy is one of God’s primary goals for us on earth. Our days on earth are the preparation phase for our real life in eternity. Those who try to live just for today find they are never quite satisfied. Those who invest in their legacy experience a growing sense of dignity.
Paul seeks to instill this kind of thinking into all believers in Colossians 3:2-4, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
There are some simple skills you can practice that will help you pass on what is important to you to future generations.
Leave a Bible Legacy
Choose a few Bible verses that represent what is most important to you. Paste them into a file on your computer. Print these verses and post them somewhere in your house. At some point in your life, give a copy of these verses to everyone who is important to you. Some of my favorites are:
...Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord... (Philippians 3:7-8).
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2).
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:3-4).
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble...He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:1, 10).
Leave a Thoughtful Legacy
Choose a few quotes from bumper stickers, quotation websites, movies, speeches and books that have affected your life. Do the same thing with these as you do with your favorite bible verses. A few of my favorites are:
- Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.
- Pray like it depends upon God. Work like it depends upon you.
- He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose (Jim Elliott).
- Where there is light, there are bugs (Dr Ironside).
This month, you might be seeing those that are a part of your extended family. Choose something: a verse, a quote, a prayer, a gift and pass down a piece of your legacy.
Pam and Bill Farrel are relationships experts, international speakers, and authors of 40 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, and their 10 Best Decisions Series (for men, women, parents, couples, leaders, graduates) and their newest is 7 Simple Skills for Every Man. More of the Farrel’s resources can be found at www.Love-Wise.com
Publication date: November 6, 2014