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Leaving a Legacy

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Rev. Dr. Lakeya Stewart

Jesus…the name of Jesus speaks for itself in Christian circles. The name has a lasting legacy of miracles and power associated with it. When one thinks of the name of Jesus, perhaps the story of the feeding of the multitude comes to mind. A legacy definitely follows.

I recently asked a group of people this question: If your name and life appeared in the Bible as a story would you be characterized as a doubting Thomas or a faith-filled Peter? Before one could even begin to study a biblical figure such as Thomas, one is likely to consider the label attached to them. In the case of “doubting Thomas,” he questioned the nail prints in Jesus’ body.

As a former Hospice Chaplain, I have given significant thought about how I will be remembered and what legacy I will leave behind. One of my favorite poems is entitled “The Dash,” written by Linda Ellis. The poem speaks about how the life we live is often summarized with a simple dash on our tombstone. The line that resonates with me every time I hear this poem says, “So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?” This thought-provoking question makes me wonder the impact I have had on the lives of others.

What will others say about you when they speak of your dash? Will they say you exhibited Christ-like behavior despite the tests and trials you faced in life? Or, will they say your actions were hypocritical to the words you often spoke from your mouth? Will the dash others will speak about on your behalf be noble? Will the words you speak and the actions you exhibit today show forth the legacy you hope to leave behind?

As a mother, daughter, sister, and wife, I often wonder how I will be remembered once I am gone. Will my “friends” remember me? The reality is that people die and very little of what the average person did in their lives will be remembered. We can sit and reflect on the good deeds of our friends and loved ones once they are gone, but as I sit and write this article, I am beginning to feel anxious. What if no one remembers…

People of God, life is too short to worry about how others will perceive the actions you take today. Whether you decide to pursue an additional degree or stay at home and raise your children, you must make these decisions for yourself and no one else.

As I write this article attempting to encourage you and encourage myself, I am reminded of what the old folks would say, “May the work I’ve done and the life I’ve lived speak for me.” My prayer is that the life you live and the work you have done, speaks for you too. Be blessed!

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