I just got back from helping conduct a funeral. The precious lady who had passed was only 57 years old. You would think that the tone of the service would be tragic. But it was anything but. It was a celebration.
Of course the family did not want their loved one to die so young. She had a husband, several children, and many grandkids who would have loved to have held on to her life for decades longer. But it was still a celebration.
How was this possible? It was because she lived her life well. She lived in such a way as to leave a legacy. Her children will miss her, but she taught them so well how to love and care for one another that it is obvious they will carry on her tradition of love and family.
Watching this family, in tears, show honor and gratitude for the years they had with their wife and mom was inspirational. She had left a legacy that would continue to last well in the future.
Are you living your life in such a fashion that you will leave a positive legacy behind you?
Here are some thoughts on what any of us can do to leave a positive legacy…
- Make God central to all you do. The most powerful personalities are people who have wrapped the entirety of their lives around faith in the Lord. This is what being a follower of Jesus is all about.
- Love others and look to serve. Jesus taught us to serve. Our influence in people’s lives is founded on the value we add to their lives. This is done when we serve their best interest. Parents and grandparents have amazing opportunities to do this in the lives of their kids and grandkids. But anyone can have this impact by just looking to add value to the people around them.
- Be an example, not an enabler. This is an important principle for parents. We want to teach our children, not just provide for them. We want to give them all we can and serve them. But even more importantly we need to teach them to do the things we do for them. What was so amazing about this woman whose funeral I participated in today was that though she was the glue that held the family together, the family was not going to fall apart when she was gone. She had done more than just care for her family. She taught her husband and kids to do the same. She expected them to do the same and they caught her vision. We need to do more than just serve others, we need to teach and expect them to do the same. Then when we are gone, they will carry on the legacy.
- Live honorably over a long period of time. None of us are perfect. We never will be. But legacy is left when we are honorable over time, when we do good and live right over and over again.
- Treat others with dignity and respect. This is what attracts people to us and builds influence. You give this and people want to follow you, they want to be like you.
- Handle challenges with faith and courage. This lady who we honored today had fought a five year battle with cancer. The cancer ultimately took her body. But it never defeated her spirit. She chose courage, kindness, and grace through her journey of illness. I am sure she was not perfect all the time, but she was consistent in her grace and courage. This was powerful to her family and gave them courage. It taught them to live well and to end well. What an amazing legacy.
Live by these six principles and your life will have impact long after you are gone.
Question: Do you know someone who has inspired you with the way they have lived life? Who are they and what about them inspires you to live well? You can leave a comment by clicking here.