What Kind Of A Legacy Will You Leave Behind?

How important is it to live a life that makes it better for those who follow?   Have American’s become very selfish people with little concern for their children and grandchildren?  It is estimated that those 45 and younger spend very little time planning on what they wish to leave for future generations.  It is estimated that most individuals headed to prison have little care for what they leave behind.  It is all about self.

When the Declaration of Independence was adopted they took an oath: “we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” As a result a new nation was formed with the Bible as their guide. Had it not been for our founding fathers desire to leave a nation with individual freedom, America’s legacy would be little different from other countries.

 

“The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”  (Numbers 14:18)

Many of us know the story of Esau and Jacob.  Esau was the oldest son and in a Jewish culture that made the eldest eligible to receive the “birthright”.  The birthright was a special honor given to the first born son.  It gave him twice as much as any other sibling’s inheritance.  Upon death of the father, it also made him the family leader and the judge of any disputes in the family.  It gave them a different relationship to God than the others.  The oldest son, if he chose to do so, could sell or give it away.  If he did, he would lose the material benefit and give up his leadership position.  Esau by giving up his birthright gave up the spiritual blessing that came with it.  He traded it for an immediate pleasure without considering the long-range consequence of what it would do.  Something many do constantly with little or no thought about how it could change the lives of those who follow.

Genesis 23:30 – 40 – “He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)  Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”  “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”  But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.  Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.  So Esau despised his birthright.”

Here is the consequence: The Bible probably would have read—Abraham, Isaac and Esau the father of twelve sons.  Esau possibly gave up every benefit that Jacob received from God.  We can fall into the same trap.  When we see something that we really want, what are we willing to do to get it?  Our first impulse may be to do whatever it takes. That could mean using the credit card, having an illicit affair, being dishonest to gain materially.  What is it that tempts us?  What is our bowl of stew?  What are we willing to give up in the future, to satisfy an immediate craving or lust that we have at the moment?

Esau exaggerated his hunger.  I doubt that he would die if he didn’t get the stew.  Yet, don’t we think similar thoughts?  No one will know.  It won’t hurt anyone.  The pressure of the moment gives us a different perspective making the decision seem urgent.  Isn’t it possible for us to justify almost any decision we make?

Consider how Esau’s decision changed his future, his family’s future and the world’s future.  If you have read the Bible almost everything from that time on, in the Bible, is about Jacob and his heirs.  Follow Esau’s history and there is very little good that came out of it.  From Esau came many of those who have accepted Islam and are Muslins.  Esau and his descendants are bitter enemies with Jacob’s heritage.  They have been enemies for centuries.

Decisions we make today not only affect us but influence the lives of our family.  We are seeing it today.  Many unwed teenagers having children with little chance of them growing up with a spiritual upbringing.  Unwise choices destroy families.  We know of politicians who have destroyed career opportunities for a bowl of soup as Nevadans are aware.

We have all had the pressure that comes from temptations.  The devil knows what our bowl of soup is.  This is why it is so important to reach spiritual maturity and live a life trying in every way to please God.  We must never do things knowing that God will be displeased.  That is sin!  Stop and think—consider the consequence!  Will the decision I make today, displease God and change the lives of my children, grandchildren and on?  Don’t make the mistake Esau did and have the affect he had on so many.

Galatians 5:17 – “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Watch TV and read the newspapers.  What do you think the third and fourth generation from now will be like?  What kind of a society will they be living in?  Will any place be safe?  How many might have a personal relationship with Christ?

Does anyone wonder why Christ came to spread the Gospel?  What if every child had Christian parents would future societies be any different?   Christians, can you see the importance of evangelizing the world?  What will our legacy be?  Will others benefit from how we lived or are we leaving the world worse because of our selfish natures?

Remember the 12 Israelite spies sent out to determine if they could take the land God had promised?  Ten came back with a bad report.  Numbers 14:36 – 37 – “So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it—these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord.”  All Israelite men 20 and older died in the wilderness and it was 40 years before the others were victorious and entered the Promised Land.  Shouldn’t we consider how we live, our attitudes and what we say? What am I doing to the generations that follow?

Matthew 22:37 – “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

What would the world’s legacy be if everyone lived by these two commandments?  Every generation would do better than the previous one.  However, what we are leaving behind is a world preparing for the Antichrist to take over.    Soon it will be too late and all individual freedom will be lost!

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