How long will your legacy last?

I got into an altercation with a lightning bug yesterday.  Or rather my windshield did. I probably don’t have to tell you who won, especially since my windshield was moving at 70+ miles per hour when the altercation took place.

All these years living in the country, so many summers speeding down back roads speckled with fireflies, and I’ve never hit one. Until last night. And I’m not sure if it makes me morbid or not to admit that I found the glowing green speck on my windshield fascinating. After all, it’s not often that you see a bug splatter against your windshield and leave a glowing spot of goo.

But it didn’t last long. Probably not even 15 seconds. In 15 seconds, everything that firefly had stood for was no more than a dried-out speck on a car windshield. Lost. Forgotten. Not even a shadow of what it had been before.

I don’t know about you, but when I hit that proverbial windshield at the end of my life, I’d like to leave more than a glowing green mark that fades after 15 seconds.

The moon over Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

The moon over Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Matthew 6:19-20.

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.

How many of us are working hard to build something we can leave behind for the people who come after us? I know that’s always been important to my parents. They’ve worked hard throughout their lives so that they would have something to leave to my brother and me.

But so many times I think we get caught up in thinking about material possessions–like houses and land and clothing and furniture and money–and we forget that all those things are temporary. Earthly treasures don’t last forever. They wear out. They break. Or people steal them away.

Would it be so much better instead to leave something behind that people couldn’t steal? Or that time couldn’t destroy? It’s not impossible, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. You just have to change the way you think about treasure.

I do believe that there will be a standard of living in heaven, but that’s another topic for another blog. Eternity will be bliss, that’s a certainty, but there will be some people in heaven who have more “treasure” than others simply because they took God at His word and lived a life making deposits in their heavenly account instead of focusing on their earthly one.

What is heavenly treasure? Well, that’s a great question, and I’m not qualified to answer it. For me personally, the treasures I most want to enjoy when I get to heaven are the priceless relationships I’ve built on earth. But the Bible is pretty clear that choosing to live a life that honors God results in treasures stored up in heaven.

But there’s something that living a life that honors God gives you on earth. If you choose to live the way God says is right, yes, you’ll gain rewards in heaven, but you’ll also receive blessings on earth. And the thing about God’s blessings is that they never run out, not as long as you keep on living for Him.

What better legacy to leave behind than a history of God’s blessings? What better inheritance to pass on to your children than your own personal faith that God is worth it?

Sure, money is nice. And a house would be great. But what good would those things do me in the end? More money to spend. Another house to pay taxes on. That’s actually probably what the money would go to–taxes.

How are you living today? Are you living so you can leave your children your wealth? Or are you living so you can leave your children your faith?

People who live for material possessions and leave behind material possessions often have legacies that last as long as a firefly. In a flash, they’re gone. If the only thing to your name is what you own, you won’t be remembered very long.

But if you live the kind of life that honors God, if you love people, if you do what God says is right, God won’t let your memory be forgotten. And your memory could be responsible for bringing hope and light to other people’s lives–and not just for 15 seconds.

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