16 October 2012

The Significance of Your Legacy

It is a question most of us never really think about...

Or if we do we tend to put it aside and try to ignore it. The big question we have all been asked so many times: What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want to accomplish that will have a lasting impact? That your footsteps mattered and your life counted. In one hundred years time people will still remember your legacy...

Another word for legacy is influence. Influence is any type of positive pressure, control, persuasion, encouragement or inspiration that impacts others to yourself. It is the power affecting a person or course of events produced by influence. All leadership is influence, yet not many know the true power of it.

Like everything, influence can be positive or negative and used for good or evil. Leaders are held to a high standard before God and must give an account of their entire life, influence and legacy (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a Christian preacher and theologian who was central to bringing the First Great Awakening. His descendants went on to be influential ministers, college presidents, financiers, surgeons and judges. Compare the lives of Edwards with a standard person of his day...

A Brief Family History of Max Jukes

Max Jukes was an atheist who lived in New York during the 19 century. Of his 560 known descendants:

  • 7 were murderers
  • 60 became thieves
  • 67 reported having syphilis
  • 100 were alcoholics
  • 50% of the women in his family line became prostitutes
  • 300 died prematurely
The Family History of Jonathan Edwards

  • 300 were preachers
  • 295 were college graduates
  • 100 were missionaries
  • 100 were lawyers
  • 80 held public office including 1 Vice President of the United States (Aaron Burr), 13 US senators, 1 state governor, 3 big city mayors and 1 US controller
  • 75 military officers
  • 65 college professors including 13 college presidents
  • 56 physicians including 1 Dean of Medical School

Jonathan and his wife Sarah Edwards are among the most notable parents in American history. By 1900, the descendants of their eleven children left a legacy of hundreds of significant and respectable individuals who changed their world. The generational legacy of Edward's children reflects how the influence of a sincere follower of Jesus Christ is passed down through history. 

Why was Jonathan Edwards able to pass on such an incredible legacy? He was a man of prayer. Few know that though he was an incredibly busy man, he was also a very devoted husband and father. Edwards spent at least one hour per day praying for and speaking blessing over each of his eleven children. Because of his commitment to pray for his children on a daily basis God blessed not only them but his entire generational line!

Genesis 22:17-18 -“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.  Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

God is a generational thinker and long range multi-generational planner. He honours the covenant He made with Abraham in order to perpetuate blessing down Abraham’s family line. If you are IN Christ that include you and me.

What legacy do you want to leave?

Roberts Liardon, God's Generals: The Revivalists, Whitaker House, 2008, page 131