If I left this world right now; what or how would I like to be remembered? This question has been passed down through generations more than some family heirlooms. And even with examples after examples of answers to this question, it still remains as one of the most thought-provoking and hardest questions to truly figure out.
From the top of the head, most men can come up with all kinds of answers. “I want to be remembered as this, I want the world to know I was this.” When I was younger, I wanted to be remembered as a cheerful giver. In the beginning, my giving was done by the book (the Bible, of course). I saw someone in need and I gave. Soon I found out that the more I gave, the better I felt. I was also never in want; everything I needed was being handed to me. It was honestly one of the best feelings I could ever remember feeling.
Soon I became accustomed to the feeling of not being in want. I soon found myself wanting more of that feeling. And this is where the problems arose. The more my desire for that feeling increased; the more I felt the need to give. I took my heart out of the equation and inserted my pockets, and that new big screen television I saw at the electronics store. My goal of being remembered as a cheerful giver, turned into a goal of seeing how much I could receive for each dollar I gave. No longer was I giving by the book; my thinking and feelings had totally changed. I lost sight of my original goals, and replaced them with new ones. The legacy I thought that I was leaving was no longer alive. I had given birth to a new legacy; one in which I would find that I was not proud to leave.
How many times have we as men, begun to create what we feel would be our lasting legacies; only to find that what we thought was our legacy was really only a selfish reaction to the world around us? So many of us today (myself included) view our surroundings through what I like to call, “envious contact lenses.” I used to find myself wandering why did someone who was obviously doing wrong have more than I did. Why did this person have the luxury car and here I am on the bus? How could that person walk into Macy’s and buy whatever they pleased, while I struggled to buy an item from Walgreens?
I eventually found myself giving away as much as I could, with the hopes of me getting all that I saw around me. The moment that I realized God was in the habit of rewarding my cheerful giving; I took it upon myself to try and up the ante. I thought I had finally figured out how to get all that I saw someone else possess. I had convinced myself that I could leave a lasting legacy and be selfish all at the same time; and I was going to use God in the process.
I allowed myself to become blinded by all of the things that I was able to receive; and lost sight of what was really important. I started with the hopes of leaving this lasting legacy for my children, and in the process began leaving something much worse.
So how could I get back to my original purpose? How could I find the road back to leaving a lasting legacy for my children and my children’s children? Well I began to pray! I prayed for God’s forgiveness, and for his guidance. I prayed that God would allow me once again to work towards something that would last. I prayed for something that would inspire my children, and then in turn inspire their children. And I am proud to say that you are reading my legacy. My purpose in life goes hand in hand with my legacy.
I thank God everyday that I am back on the road to leaving a lasting legacy. My hope is that all fathers can leave lasting legacies for their children.