Have you ever put much thought into legacy? If so, what does it mean to you? I'm sure if you were to ask what legacy meant to several people throughout the day you would get a variety of responses. According to Dictionary.com, legacy means, "anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor," (see footnote 1). When we think of handing something down, we think of some type of possession such as money or maybe something that bears sentimental value. For example, my husband and I just received a table that his great-grandparents bought when they were first married. Other people may feel that legacy is the way people will think of them after they are gone, in a sense it is the memories they leave behind for their loved ones. But, have you ever considered that there are other deeper legacies that we can leave for future generations? Please read Genesis 4:17-26.
In these verses, we read about the legacy of Cain and his descendants and we read a little about Seth's legacy. As I read through the description of some of Cain's descendants I was struck by how talented and smart his family must have been. First, Cain himself founded a city and then he had descendants who were the first to work with iron and bronze and the first to play flute and harp. Both the music and the forging are things that have formed and shaped our cultures today. That is a pretty incredible thought, isn't it? But we also see that he had a descendant who murdered someone; however, he said it was out of self-defense. What these verses tell us is that there was also a legacy of sin that was getting worse.
Genesis 4:25-26 tell us a little of Seth's legacy. In these verses we read that Seth had a son named Enosh but things were also changing for the good for some people. We are told that at this time, people began to worship the Lord by name. I would encourage you to read through Genesis 5 because it is a tremendous legacy of Seth's descendants who followed God. Generation after generation followed the Lord and we are even told that Encoch didn't die but was taken from this earth because he walked in close fellowship with God.
We can leave a legacy for future generations of good stories and great inventions; however, the legacy that matters the most is a close relationship with our Creator. We cannot make decisions for our future generations; however, we can live and worship God in a way that instills the importance of a relationship with Him. We can pray over our children and unborn descendants that they would learn to walk in close fellowship with God; however, we need to live it as well. What we do and say models how we should live for future generations. We can either let our children know that pleasing our human desires is important or that pleasing God is important. I will close with this final thought: we now have a tangible possession of my husband's great-grandparents, but they left behind a far greater legacy for us. When we go to the family reunion, we see so many followers of Christ. This family even has pastors and missionaries in every generation that has followed his great-grandparents. We even worship together at the family reunions. That is an amazing legacy to be a part of!
What legacy are you leaving behind?