On today’s trek, we will compare the trails of inheritance versus legacy. While there may be some cross-over, they are distinctly different. Thank you so much for coming along with me each week as we explore and consume small “nuggets of wisdom.” These bits of wisdom help us to live a rich and satisfying life while creating a living legacy.
So often we tend to equate legacy to inheritance, but in fact, they are very different things. Inheritance is about money and possessions but a legacy is about the person. Let’s think about it in these two descriptions.
Inheritance is something you leave to a person(s). Legacy is something you leave in a person(s). An inheritance is something given to a person. A legacy is an impact made on a person. When you leave something behind as an inheritance, the recipients are temporarily happy and satisfied. But when you leave them a legacy, they are permanently transformed. If you have been on our Wisdom-Trek these many weeks, you know that one of our primary focuses is not just to leave a legacy when you die, but to impact everyone each day through a living legacy that will change eternity.
The truth of the matter is that we need to be much more concerned about our legacy each day than the inheritance we will leave someday. Sure, we need to make sure our wills and other financial areas are in place and protected for the next generation. The Bible mentions inheritance nearly 60 times, so it does have an importance in our lives, such as is mentioned in Proverbs 13:22, “Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.”
Even with its importance, legacy goes far beyond the time, the money, or the stuff that soon vanishes. Legacy is eternal. Inheritance is gifts received. Legacy is values imparted. Inheritance is a temporary reward. Legacy is an eternal reward. One day we will all die, and we can’t take anything with us. That is why it is important that we live with our eternal impact in mind. That impact is the one thing that will last forever.
We need to first be sure our eternity is secure and that we have dealt with the reality of sin in our lives. We will stand before God and give account. We need to be sure we are ready for that meeting and that we have dealt with the things that will keep us from eternity with Him. Then we need to be focused on living our positive legacy that will impact others for eternity. We all will leave a legacy. It isn’t optional. It happens because of the way we live. We need to make sure we are living in such a manner that it is creating the kind of legacy we want to leave. Examine your priorities. God wants to live and leave a legacy through you each day of your life. He wants to put value into your life. He wants to put something that is forever in your life.
As stated, the fact of the matter is that we create a legacy while we live. It isn’t something that magically appears as we pass from this earth through death. It is something we create intentionally while we live. This is why it is important to have a life plan based on your purpose for your life. So our life plan becomes the foundation for our legacy plan. As we live each day, we are putting our legacy in place. The people we touch, the things we teach, the moments we create, the love we share…they all go into creating our legacy.
Inheritance leaves behind a monument, but a legacy is a movement that continually perpetuates. An inheritance can help us to expand our legacy, but it is not our legacy. Our living legacy is a success that is continually going on. With a monument, it will be destroyed over time, but with a legacy, it is a movement that will never die. The impact of our lives can last if we make sure to do the things that matter most while we are living.
What does your living legacy look like? That is how it will impact eternity. How intentional are you today in creating your legacy for tomorrow? If you died today, what would your legacy look like? I have more work to do, so I’m not ready for that. I doubt you are either. We need to get ready today because we don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we can know who holds tomorrow! Let us use Ephesians 5:1-2 as a basis for creating and living our legacy each day, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
Our vision is that together we will create a legacy of wisdom and seek out discernment and insights to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before and live long and prosper as a result. Take time today to ponder the difference between inheritance and legacy in your life. In our next Wisdom Note, we will discover the wisdom of silence. Encourage your friends and family to also join us on our daily podcast for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.