Can your legacy last for eternity?
My grandmother passed away over 10 years ago, but there are days where it feels like she’s still here. She didn’t have much financially, but her strong faith and gentle spirit live on in me today.
I can still hear her plunking out gospel hymns on her Casio keyboard, to wake everyone up for church on Sunday mornings. Most Americans tend to measure people’s wealth by how much money they pass on. But my grandmother couldn’t afford to pass on a monetary inheritance.
She didn’t have much money, but what she had was a strong faith. I find my memories of what she believed in and how she loved are worth more to me than the small financial sum she left behind.
I don’t know how you view a successful inheritance or legacy, but I ask you to consider that the first and most important legacy and inheritance you can leave is one focused on faith. It is the only inheritance that lasts for eternity. And, when established well, it can tell your story for generations.
The path to leaving an eternal legacy is simple, but not always easy.
First, we must recognize we are ambassadors for our faith. As a Christian, I rely on 2 Corinthians 5:20 which says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
We cannot give the gift of our faith to our children or grandchildren, but we can set the framework. An ambassador represents where they’re from. They establish the culture, they establish the norms, and they pass those on to the people that are around them.
This is my role in sharing my faith with my children and grandchildren. I help them see the truth and gift of scripture and lay out the role it has played in shaping our family.
Second, I would encourage you to establish five to seven core values your family can rally behind. For example, our family values include generosity and ingenuity. We talk about these often and discuss how we can live them out. When we see a member of the family actively living one of these values, we make a point to highlight it.
We began by sitting around the table and listing words that captured the ideas of what our family stood for. We started out with 20 to 30 different words, but over time we were able to narrow it down to 5 to 7. It’s okay if these change over time. You’re simply looking for a place to start.
Third, we must establish and memorialize your family’s mission and vision. How do we love? What do we, as a family, believe in? Take all of these thoughts and ideas and try to summarize them into a simple statement of one or two sentences. It’s important to get feedback and input from all family members. Don’t feel like this statement needs to be formal or sophisticated. Whatever you do, I encourage you to find a starting point and be comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to change it over time.
Establishing a lasting legacy begins with the end in mind. This life of ours is short, but the impact we make on others for today and for eternity will last beyond anything else we can do. I encourage you to begin the process of establishing your faith legacy.
Who knows what stories your grandchildren may tell? You may inspire them to remember you long after you’re gone. If you need help thinking about how to begin your faith legacy, give us a call at (985) 727-0770 or email [email protected], and let’s have a conversation.