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“What Legacy will you Leave Behind?”

December 11, 2011

Ok so it’s about half past 12 on a Saturday and I’ve just had a very uncomfortable thought.

There I was upstairs cuddling my one year old (CJ) – I was trying to settle him back down again, (I think he must have had a bad dream) anyway as I was holding him in my arms I suddenly had a disturbing thought; “one day I am going to die!”

I know this is obvious and perhaps a little depressing for a Saturday night but I was suddenly shocked as I remembered that I’m not permanent. My son (and any other children that I may have) will more than likely experience my death and then go on to live without me.

There is so little we can be certain of in life, but one thing we can be certain of is our own death. We don’t really spend much time thinking about the fact that one day we will die because it’s just not a fun thought.

I once heard a friend tell me about a great historical king who actually hired this fella to follow him around and on a daily basis remind him that he was going to die. This king considered it wise to live his life remembering that he won’t be around forever.

A good friend of mine recently lost his dad, but a couple of days ago tweeted about the fact that even though his dad has died, my friend is still learning lessons from his dad’s life. My friend finishes his tweet by asking a challenging question; ‘what legacy will you leave?’

I know I’m only 26 and probably some of you who are reading this blog might think this is a little too heavy for my stage of life, but I don’t want to leave this life the same as I found it. I really want my children to look to my life as an example – I don’t think this is me being arrogant, I actually think this is part of my responsibility as a dad. What will CJ think of me when I am older, will he look to me as a hero or will he be embarrassed by me?

The truth is he probably will be embarrassed every now and again. After all my dancing isn’t great and my joke telling has gone right down hill (in fact it’s those two factors that confirmed for me that I was ready to be a dad!) But in all seriousness when CJ looks back across my life what will he see? what will he think?

I think this is a really relevant question no matter what you believe. Whether you are a Christian or an atheist, body builder or stamp collector. We will all die and sometimes it’s healthy to remember that. These days there are so many demands on my time and I want to make sure that I prioritise well; after all I don’t know when my time will be up.

Someone once said to me that our priorities could be described as small rocks, the more important they are then the bigger the size of the rock. He took the analogy further; our day-to-day life is like a small jar that can only fit a certain number of rocks in. Sometimes we tend to fill up that jar with the smaller rocks (unimportant stuff like X factor or Xbox) and end up with no room for the bigger rocks (like God time, family time or rest time). Now I have nothing against watching TV or playing computer games (or most things really) but these are the smaller rocks that ought to fit around the bigger rocks. The bigger rocks need to be put into the jar first and then the smaller rocks need to fit in around them.

There’s no point in beating myself up over the hundreds of times I haven’t prioritised well, the truth is I still have breathe in my lungs and therefore I still have a chance to leave a good legacy for those who will come after me.

Ok so that’s enough for now, I will leave you with this question – if you were to die tomorrow how do you think you would be remembered? Challenging eh?

  1. Matt permalink

    I’m not sure how i would be remembered but i wanted to share a thought. You change the world by your very existence. I believe that change is for the good because if god made you and he is good then your existence is good too. Thought that might be a good thing to remember. so yer, go for it, live your life in a way that will change the world around you for the better.

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your comment, I can see what you’re getting at and I like your provocation to go for it. You say in your comment that you believe change is for the good, I agree with sometimes, but what about people’s who’s existence changed the world in a very bad way. What about people like Hitler and others? There are many people throughout history who, I would argue, left a terrible legacy behind, but God made these people too.

      • Matt permalink

        Good point. I can’t condone the things that those people did. but in those times there were also people who made a difference for the good in those situations. I guess it comes down to having the trust that there is a bigger picture that we cant see. God didnt make Hitler bad, the world and sin made his actions, choices and the legacy he left behind bad.

      • I agree, there is definitely a much bigger picture that we cannot always see, and as you say that takes trust.

  2. Jennifer permalink

    Brilliant stuff Jez! challenging yet accessible! Can’t wait for the next one! Jen x

    • Thanks Jen – I am hoping there will be lots of healthy discussion on these pages – maybe I need to be more controversial to get people talking 😀

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