I want to talk a little bit about legacy. Specifically, who are the legacies we are trying to create intended to serve? There are so many people throughout history who have left noteworthy legacies, but as Christians, I think it’s important to look particularly closely at figures from the Bible to learn more about this matter. There are so many prophets and spiritual figures throughout the Bible that we can learn from, but for right now I want to look at two in particular.
In first Samuel, we learn about King Saul, who was at this point preparing for a large battle against the Philistines. Before the battle was to begin, he was supposed to wait for the prophet Samuel, who would burn an offering for Saul and go with him to battle. But when Samuel didn’t show up on time, Saul burnt the offering himself and went into battle without God’s prophet. In other words, Saul chose to fight the battle without God. When Samuel showed up, he made it very clear that Saul’s legacy was forever changed because he chose to fight for himself and not for God. There are many theologians who believe that had it not been for this decision, Jesus would have come through Saul’s lineage, and not David’s. Samuel chastises Saul for his decision by saying to him, “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:14).
We all know that God does not make a habit of condemning people for making mistakes. There are numerous examples in the Bible of Him not letting our mistakes define us, and giving us the chance to repent and seek His forgiveness. One example of this is Saul’s successor, King David. Despite more than a few really poor life decisions during his reign, the Apostle Luke still called David “A man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). The difference between the two kings was how these men handled the consequences of their actions. Saul was vengeful, unrepentant and prideful in his sin. He sought to make his legacy about his own glory and greatness. David, on the other hand, repented and came back to God. He decided to glorify God above all else, even during the lowest points of his life.
It’s David’s legacy that we should strive to imitate. In Psalm 91, God tells us “Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him.” When we choose to make our legacy about our work, accomplishments, or even about our own character, we choose to live for our own sake rather than for the glory of God. In doing so, we forfeit everything that God has promised to us. But when we choose to “set Him on high” (Psalm 91:14), His promises and His favor can become visible, as we reflect His light in our life.
Finally, we must remember that we will answer for every action, every reaction, every motivation, and every decision when we stand before His throne. Matthew 12:36 tells us “But I tell you that everyone will have to give an account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken.” So, ultimately, we need to ask ourselves: what kind of legacy are we building? Are we willing to answer for it?