Leaving a Legacy

A legacy is the part of our lives that continues to affect people even after we’ve died. It’s the part of us that will be woven into the world. Flavored by our own perspective and abilities, it will become a part of the larger, global, eternal work that God is doing.

Each person leaves a legacy, intentionally or not. Our interactions with others leaves a story behind that wraps itself around their lives and affects them long after we’ve gone.

Legacies begin when we learn to see beyond ourselves. Our reach can impact our own family or families a world away. When we try to reach out and bless everyone with the purpose that God has given us, we are reaching beyond ourselves and building our legacy.

The power of our legacy comes from  love for others. When we connect heart to heart with other people, we find that their love is grown, their world is brightened, and they find that they are able to build their own legacy of love.

What is our legacy, really? It’s the awareness of the love of God flowing through people. It’s the power of a connection that goes beyond our own human abilities to foster. God is working in His people to create a bond that is unbreakable; a bond forged by the Holy Spirit. Each generation that pours itself into supporting that bond grows a deeper legacy with a wider range of people.

Our strength comes from connections around us. Our ability to weather storms safely is increased when we have others to stand with and around us. Our children grow up more aware of the power of God when we surround ourselves with people living in His ways.

Death is the final line for us to cross, and when we do finally go home, the legacy we leave will shine as a story of God’s love. Our homecoming will be sweeter because of the lives we have impacted through our willingness to love.

Who Do I Love?

God wants us to love everybody. Easier said than done, and what even are we saying? Loving your neighbor is a foundational truth of Christianity, so how do we practice being aware of our love for them?

Love is the connection that brings us together. Love lifts us up and builds us up with strength and joy. We see our love in how others respond to our words, our actions, and even our presence.

Seeing Love

We know when we feel loved. We feel connected, important and supported. It is much more difficult to know if other people feel loved by us. Each person needs to be loved in slightly different ways. How they feel most supported  is different for each person in our life, just as we are different in what we need. The more deeply we know someone, the more deeply we can express our love for them. We can speak to them with our actions, (the loudest way to speak to someone), and they can understand our care for them.

Love comes in so many forms that it can be difficult sometimes to see it as love. We might call it politeness or being a good neighbor. Sometimes it’s civic duty or being a responsible citizen. All the ways  we live and act to benefit others, individual or groups is love. Even being a good worker and honoring your boss is an act that supports and lifts up; it’s an act of love.

Love doesn’t have to mushy, gushy and make someone cry. Love can be anything that supports and helps. It builds connections and creates bridges between people.

Practicing Love

To fully love others, we must consciously practice love, both in our actions and in our thoughts. Focusing our thoughts on building others up, on supporting the community that is around us, makes love a priority in our lives.

Practicing love may look different from person to person because God has given us all different gifts. Some are gifted in words, others in organization and execution, others in celebrating beauty in people and nature. Whatever your gifts are, God has given them to be used to support and build up.

Building Bridges

Love is the force that brings people together. It is the bridge that allows us to connect to others to help and find joy in life together. This connection can only start when one person reaches out. Love flourishes when hearts and minds are open to other people. If you’ve ever felt alone in a crowd, you know the barriers that can be between people. Love breaks those barriers so we can feel connected, whether we’re in a crowd or with an individual, far away from the crowd.

Love is the connection between us that allows support to build up our community. It is so vital to love everyone because anyone in our community that doesn’t feel connected or important is a hole in the cloth that makes up the community God has created for us to live in. Holes create weakness in our world and loss and hurt creep in through these areas.

Let’s work together to create a community of connection and support to everyone that God brings into our lives.