June 16, 2016

Legacies: What are YOU Passing Down?

There’s no doubt that the world has been truly shaken by recent events in many areas.  Such happenings help us to realize that we need to plan ahead.  A comfortable “live for the moment” attitude isn’t good enough when we’re faced with a radically changing world.

There are no guarantees anymore. That’s why we have to start preparing for tomorrow. We have to help loved ones make plans as well.

The vagaries of life have prompted me to reflect on legacies. I am so grateful for the persistence, stamina, and work ethic my relatives and ancestors handed down to me. In the meantime, I ask myself questions for all of us:
  • What are we teaching the next generation?
  • Are they really prepared to take over?
  • Are they able to look beyond their own immediate desires?

I’m not the only person to question the responsibility of those who will be our future leaders. .Joyce Meyer’s son, Daniel, says that many people he knows his age don’t have basic life skills. For that reason, he’s grateful that his parents passed down a good work ethic.

Now, we aren’t all officially parents. That doesn’t matter. We still pass down a certain lifestyle, or way of thinking, to others.  After all, we work, shop at stores, and interact with others in a variety of ways.

History is full of people who left legacies, for good or bad. Let’s look at what the reality series, America: Facts vs. Fiction, and other sources, tell us:

Groucho Marx

He’s the man with the trademark cigar and moustache. Groucho lost $3,000,000 in the stock-market collapse of 1929. He didn’t leave a financial legacy from that particular time. However, he left an enduring heritage of laughter. The Marx Brothers movies are still used for laughter therapy by millions of people decades after they were made.

Joseph Kennedy

This man did pull all his money out of the stock market about three months before it officially collapsed. He saw the writing on the wall when his shoeshine boy said he was going to invest in the market. Joseph Kennedy thought that it was time for him to pull out, if amateurs were going to start playing the market. So he did.

You haven’t heard of Joseph Kennedy? He’s one of THOSE Kennedys. In fact, he’s the patriarch of the entire Kennedy clan. 

More specifically, he was the father of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK). This groundbreaking man served as the 35th President of the United States from 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.

If Joseph Kennedy had not stopped playing the stock market, he wouldn’t have had enough money to finance a presidential election. (Just ask billionaire Donald Trump how much money it takes!) He began a dynasty of politicians and socialites that continues to thrive today. (Arnold Schwarzenegger is married to Maria Shriver, a niece of JFK.)

Jonathan Edwards

This Puritan preacher of the 1700s left a legacy of faith and hard work that lasted for centuries. At least two hundred of his descendants have become successful lawyers and politicians, including one Vice President of the United States.

My Conclusion

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”—Proverbs 13:22 (NKJV)

Please pause to consider your heritage and the legacy you are leaving for future generations. I’m not saying we’re perfect, or that our ancestors were flawless. Only Jesus has that honor. Nevertheless, even flawed people leave indelible footprints somewhere in the world. The fact remains that anything we do today may have a lasting effect—for better or for worse.

How do you want to be remembered?

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