Sunday, September 12, 2010


Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
         And leave their wealth to others.
Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,
         Their dwelling places to all generations;
         They call their lands after their own names.
Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain;
         He is like the beasts that perish. - Psalm 49:10-12

Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
         When the glory of his house is increased;
For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
         His glory shall not descend after him. – Psalm 49:16-17

Today’s Reading: Psalms 49-50; Romans 1

If you stroll around the campus of any major university and look at the buildings there is one thing that is consistent. Most of them are named after somebody.

Sometimes they are named after the person who wrote the check responsible for it being made. Other times they are named after important graduates or historical figures. The legacy of that individual lives on in the building, through the scholarship of the students who are educated within its walls.

Eh… not really.

Every one of the buildings at my college had names on them and I didn’t know who they were or why they were there. For all I know they were a bunch of dusty dead folks who were so narcissistically concerned with their legacy that they dished out copious amount of coin to make sure that their name is never forgotten.

Buildings may last longer than our bodies, but memories don’t endure all that long. People come and people go. Even those who are “remembered” are seldom remembered for who they actually were. They become historical figures, lost in the mythology of their towering triumphs and colossal defeats.

So this makes me wonder. What legacy do I want to leave?

The vain, egotistical side of me of course wants to leave a legacy. Remember me! I’ll take one order of that towering triumph mythology please. Thanks.

But on the real, I don’t care much about legacy anymore.

Let’s get one thing straight. I do care about making an impact on the world. I think it is important that as a citizen of humanity I do my part to make the world a better place.

But even more than that I hope that I can pass along the things I have learned to my future kids. Sure it would be nice if they inherited material security, but more than that, I want them to be the beneficiaries of a life lived with courage and faith. I want them to have an example of loving kindness and forgiveness. I want them to see the content of my character and strive to be better than me, and their kids to be better than them so that we can continue to spread love throughout the world.

I know that this is something that I can give to the world no matter how much money I make or how many buildings have my name on it.

And if my children and grandchildren inherit these things, they will be the best investment I will have made in my entire life.

What legacy do you want to leave? Chime in!

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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