The only legacy that matters

The tragic, unacceptable circumstances which led to the death of George Floyd and the worldwide condemnation which followed, has dominated news broadcasts over the past two weeks. Black communities in England, Belgium and other European countries which have an imperial past, have expressed their disapproval of statues which commemorate the lives of individuals who were involved in the lucrative exploitation of African people who were shipped to the Caribbean islands and southern states of the USA to work as slaves. Statues and other commemorations can be very divisive. To some they recognise heroism, achievement and sadly also tragedy: to others they represent hurt, oppression and offence.

We will almost certainly not have a statue erected in our memory: thankfully the practice is almost exclusively associated with previous generations, but everyone of us will leave a legacy. Our lives impact upon our families, friends and those with whom we come in contact. Not everyone will like us as a person: we can’t guarantee to be “everyone’s cup of tea”! Others will write our obituary based upon the opinions they have formulated about each one of us.

As professing Christians, there are questions we need to regularly ask ourselves. Is my interaction with others a positive experience? Do I treat everyone with respect irrespective of skin colour, religious persuasion or gender identity? Does my life reflect the values which Jesus expects from one who claims to be his disciple – integrity, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control? When measured against God’s standard of holiness we all fall short and one day each one of us will have to stand in God’s presence to have our lives assessed. What will God think of me? Any righteousness that may be identified will fall woefully short of what God is entitled to expect but God already knows my limitations and failures! The one searching question which will be asked is, “What did you do with Jesus: how much did you love Him?”

It was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross at Calvary which will cover the debt of my sins and assures the prospect of salvation and eternity spent in deeper reverence and worship that I can only imagine at present “as looking through a darkened glass”. It is important what people think of me but the only question that really matters is, “What does God think of my legacy?”