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Are you working on your legacy?

Berach left good institutions in Glendalough. He left pre-eminence of learning and devotion therein; he left freedom from plague and punishment therein...; and he left the hospitality of the holder of a ploughland with the hospitaller there...

  - Anonymous, Life of Berach (Irish, 17th century, from an earlier ms.)

I will cause your name to be rememberd in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.

  - Psalm 45.17

Great people are remembered by their legacies, what they leave for the generations that succeed them. In our day those legacies are most often considered in material terms - estates to be divided among heirs and beneficiaries.

Not always, of course. We remember many people who left us nothing of material value, but whose lives and examples made such an impression in their day that we continue to benefit from their dedication, industry, and sacrifice.

The fact is, we will all leave a legacy of some sort. What legacy is the question we should keep before us at all times.

It's interesting to see the kind of legacy that Berach's (fl. 6th century, Glendalough) biographer valued: learning, devotion, health, justice, hospitality, stewardship of the land. Not much tangible there. Mostly the fruits of a studious, pious, and generous life. Nevertheless, this is the kind of legacy that benefits people for generations.

The sons of Korah, the authors of Psalm 45, longed for a legacy of praise, that they might make it possible for the name of God to be praised in all generations, for ever and ever. They must be well pleased, as they look in on the progress of the Kingdom from their place in that great cloud of witnesses, to see that their many excellent psalms continue to bless millions in every generation and every nation.

They chose and sought this legacy, and they applied themselves to it by offering something others could use to praise the Lord. Their goal was of the noblest sort, and the means they created have proved to be more enduring than the legacies of many of the wealthiest benefactors who ever lived.

Are you working on your legacy? Let me put that another way: You are working on your legacy. But are you conscious of the legacy you will leave, and are you daily contributing to that legacy, and not some other? Does the legacy you plan to leave line up with your calling here and now to make known the glory of God?

The days are evil, friends, and the distractions and temptations are many. We can squander the moments of our lives if we are not careful to walk in a circumspect and wise manner (Eph. 5.15-17). Plan your legacy now, and work your plan daily, so that when you arrive in glory, the rejoicing you hear as those who have gone before greet you will only barely drown out the praise to God that continues here below because of your faithfulness.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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