We are mortal beings and one day will die. Like it or not, death is a certainty. Knowing this, many people are concerned about their legacy, making a mark on history by which they will be remembered. When an artist or a musician dies, for example, they are remembered by their body of work. Others, who don’t have special talents or great wealth still have the high ideal of aiming to leave the world a better place than they found it – perhaps by small acts of kindness.
There have always been selfish legacies. Powerful men and women have sought to leave their mark through magnificent buildings, for example. The poet Shelley wrote the ironic poem Ozymandias about a traveller through the desert who saw the remains of a huge but broken statue, with little left but the inscription: ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
In the Bible the writer of Psalm 49 explains (like Shelley’s Ozymandias), how futile it is to try to leave a legacy that does not involve God.
“Man does not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave”
God has promised us an enduring, eternal legacy. He will send Jesus back to the earth to raise the dead and set up His kingdom.
Jesus once had a conversation with a very wealthy man who asked a simple but profound question:
“Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
We are told that Jesus loved him, and replied,
“One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me”
We too have a choice. We can spend our lives worrying about a legacy that will fade, corrupt and ultimately disappear, or choose to invest in our relationship with God and Jesus, building a legacy that will last for eternity.