My family was blessed last week to have two new additions! Two new baby girls were brought into this world. Of course, my daughters were thrilled that there are more little girl cousins to add to the fold. Buddies and pals for life.
Birth and new life always produce joy and happiness. It is new life that begins the need for legacy. Without the next generation there is no need for legacy. But what kind of legacy? Legacy by dictionary definition refers to property or money being left behind. Even the wisest and wealthiest man, King Solomon, understood that legacy was meaningless if it was based on anything besides knowing God.
In Ecclesiastes 2:18-19 King Solomon says, “I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.”
In my hunger for a prescription or search for a parenting instruction manual, I find these words of Solomon challenging and cause me to pause and question my intentions. Am I more concerned with leaving a legacy of what I acquire and build? Am I more concerned with the what of life than the how and why of life? Am I more concerned to teach the doing and going than the being and relating?
Solomon demonstrates there is no guarantee that the results we can to accumulate and deliver will be passed on to capable hands. There is no guarantee that the next generation will be good stewards of wealth or of their intellect. So if legacy is just about a fiscal transfer, this too is meaningless.
The Apostle Paul book ends Solomon’s sentiments with this statement in Philippians 3:8, “Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ.”
I do not want to live my life in pursuit of the meaningless. So why do I toil? I had to get honest with myself about this. I can easily get caught up in the way other people are “succeeding” and “doing life” through social media and networking. Seasons my life get tangential and I swerve down a path that ends up being meaningless because I pursued it for the wrong reasons or to simply follow the crowd. To be real, there are a lot of days it’s hard to stay focused on eternal impact over tangible and immediate impact. It’s hard to not want what SEEMS to be meaningful in the lives of others.
The more wrestled and thought about these verses the more I recognized my want to do more, be more and have a greater impact. This desire for impact is fueled by my two little girls who look to me for wisdom and guidance. My girls look to me to show them what is meaningful. I believe this is what legacy is about. To teach what is meaningful.
When they look to me, I want my girls to find confidence in who God says they are because they saw me live boldly despite my fears. I want them to see me live with my arms wide open to opportunity and most of all see my life guided by my relationship with Christ and who he has called me to be. I want my legacy for them to be laced with the fruit produced by my intimate relationship with God.
So now to you. Why do you toil? Why do you work hard? Is it for your family to have things? If so, Solomon’s words may hit home with you today. Do you strive to leave a monetary legacy behind only to find your legacy in the hands of a fool? Or do you see the toiling in and of itself is meaningless. Do you see that legacy is deeper than finances, legacy is about demonstrating how to live a life where “all I want is Christ”? Do you see that legacy is about teaching the next generations about what it meaningful?