In 2 Timothy 1, Paul reminds Timothy of the incredible legacy of faith they share. Paul looks back to his ancestors and the heritage they share together. Then, he reminds Timothy of the legacy of faith that is alive in him that first began in his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice. Paul and Timothy were both a part of a legacy. However, this isn’t just true for them–it’s true for us. There is a weird American myth that says each one of us is an independent, autonomous individual. However, the problem with that is the Bible would beg to differ. God tells us that we are part of something bigger and that we will leave a legacy.
You are history in the making.
We’re impacted by those before us, and we will impact those after us. What one generation does often becomes normative (for good or evil, for blessing or cursing). Children imitate and grandchildren imitate. Our lives will be photocopied over and over. When we’re honest, we know this is true. How many of you look at your kids and think, “They look just like me!” or, “They act just like me!” Then, you begin to think, “I sound just like my mom!” or, “I’m parenting just like my dad!” In fact, science is now catching up with the Bible.
Take time and look up epigenetics. Epigenetics is showing the hereditary effect on gene expression. Science shows that our life choices pass genetically to kids and grandkids. Our choices can actually have an effect on gene expression (similar to how the Bible said the sins of the father would be passed onto his sons and daughters).
Wouldn’t it be incredibly profound if we had the perspective of God just for a moment and could see the effects of our life fifty to a hundred years into the future? If only we could see how those who came after us reproduced our ambitions, our fears, our strengths and struggles over and over. You are a part of a legacy, and you will leave a legacy. Therefore, my encouragement to you in how to make a difference is to begin thinking long term. Pull back and say, “My life is important now, and my life will impact the future.”
Live your legacy.
How we live on mission, how we spend our money, who we marry, how we view sexuality, and what we prioritize are variables that really matter. Long after we are gone, our legacy will remain for the lives of those who will come after us.
So, don’t be discouraged! No matter where you are today in shaping your legacy, open your Bible and you’ll find two things: broken people and a faithful God who pursues, loves, and changes us.
From Adam to Jesus, God has proved time and time again that He is the faithful one. He’s always been faithful, and He will be faithful to you. No person and no family is beyond the power of the gospel. Today, you can begin taking your next step of becoming a disciple who multiples disciples.