Looking out my window today I’m pondering people who’ve passed away lately. A couple weeks ago Prince passed away suddenly. David Bowie also passed away this year along with Doris Roberts best known as Marie Barone on the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond. County music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard passed away a few months ago and just last month comedian Garry Shandling passed away too. In the political realm, former first Lady of the United States Nancy Reagan died at the age of 95. A few other notable musicians also passed away earlier this year including Maurice White, the founder of Earth Wind and Fire, Paul Kanter who was one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane and last, but certainly not least, Glenn Frey a founding member of The Eagles passed away this year. In total – to date – 34 notable celebrities have passed away in the first four months of 2016.
What kind of a legacy do those mentioned above leave behind? While album sales increased for a few days following the passing of musicians, the question remains; What do they leave behind? Doris Roberts, while she acted in much more than just Everybody Love Raymond, will probably be remembered as a meddling mom. Nancy Reagan will be remembered not only as the wife of former President Ronald Reagan, but also the First Lady who invited psychics into the White House. Merle Haggard, while he is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, will probably be best remembered for starting what’s known as the Outlaw music genre.
What kind of a legacy will you leave? Many people don’t think about such things and there are many different concepts and ideas that come to mind when we hear the word legacy. Some think of names on buildings while others think of money donated to worthy causes. Others think about what they will leave behind for their children as a legacy. While all those concepts are good, they pale in comparison as to what God looks upon as legacy. In the Scriptures we’re told earthly treasures quickly fade away and are eaten and destroyed by moths. Instead of storing up treasures on earth, we need to store our treasures up in heaven. I believe that has to do with both while we’re living and with what we leave behind. While there is nothing wrong with leaving money and other material things in a will to organizations you want to support and to your children, I also believe we should have our eyes focused on God’s idea of legacy. But, what does God consider legacy?
I believe we get a glimpse of God’s concept of legacy when we read about David’s life and how he was remembered in the Book of Acts. In Acts 13:36 Luke writes, “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors”. David was far from perfect. While he’s referred to as a “man after God’s own heart”, he was also a man who committed adultery with Bathsheba and then in an effort to hide his affair, had her husband killed! The child later died, but the effects on King David’s reign were felt for a lifetime. But it wasn’t all bad for David as he’s also the leader who ushered the presence of God into the midst of the nation of Israel and even established the first house of prayer giving praise and honor to God. In the end, David’s legacy declares “when he completed the task God had for him, he was laid to rest”.
Now that’s a legacy worth pursuing. David’s son Solomon says the same thing in the book of Ecclesiastes. At the end of it all Solomon writes, Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. There is only one thing left to say – live life for God”. What will your legacy look like? Will you be remembered as one who stored treasures up on earth? Or will you be one remembered for accomplishing the task God put before you?
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.