Merriam Webster defines the following two words almost the same; ‘Heritage - something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor,’ and ‘Legacy - something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.’
So here is a question for us all, “What legacy or heritage are we passing along to others?”
Over the Christmas week of 2018 I reflected on this a lot as unexpectedly my mother & father both died. We held a joint funeral for the both of them two days after Christmas. Now losing a loved one, especially near a special holiday is difficult. But I share this not to lament the loss. My dad was just six days shy of 96 when he died and my mom was 93. Their departure almost had a Hallmark movie appeal to it. My parents were married nearly 72 years, seven children and lots of grandkids. Dad holds moms hand on her death bed and then he takes up the same hospice bed and joins her just six days later. Yes I’ll miss my parents. But that brings me back to the words of legacy and heritage.
Both my parents loved the Lord Jesus. It was my mom who led me, at age 10 to understand what it meant to have a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ. She was a homemaker most of her life, but a solid and faithful follower of Jesus.
My dad had me state in his funeral that he had accepted Jesus as his personal Savior in 1946. He served as a soldier in WWII in the Pacific Campaign for 3 ½ years, was discharged, met my mom, came to faith in Christ, married in 1947, joined the Minnesota Army National Guard and served as a soldier his entire career. Yet being a homemaker and soldier is not what legacy they left with us. Our heritage is one of faith in Jesus Christ. They lived Jesus before us, they introduced Jesus to us, they daily prayed for us. They wanted to leave us with a solid hope and foundation that would last for all eternity. They succeeded in helping us to know the one and only “God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) and that whoever believes in Him will not perish (be separated from God forever) but will have eternal life (with Him). [John 3:16]
So I ask again, “What legacy/heritage are you passing along to others?” Is it money, cabin, boat, firearms, camper, house, etc.? Or is it a gift that will last for all eternity?
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His (Jesus) calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
Rev. Kevin L. Norton
Hibbing Alliance Church