Legacy. What a loaded word. I’ve been doing research on my family ancestry recently and have been rocked by the stories and legacy that has been revealed. I recommend that you study your own “roots,” and see what legacy you have been left with.
For instance: I have two ancestors named John Wesley Hearn. John Wesley was a prolific pastor, evangelist, church planter, and father of the Methodist movement in the United Kingdom. His legacy was felt even across the Atlantic as my relatives honored him by naming their children after him. One consistent point that I have discovered throughout the generations of Hearns is their devotion to their faith in God.
It is said that the first Hearn in my line to come across from England, William Hearne, was a trusted captain who fought for Oliver Cromwell.
On my mother’s side, I was able to locate the Ship’s Manifest of the U.S.S. Indiana as it docked at Ellis Island in 1909. I can just imagine Frances Chiappini, excited as he nervously stepped on U.S. soil for the first time.
It’s impressive to read the names of the men and women who have lived and died, shuttling my DNA down the generations, for hundreds of years. I honor them for the lives they have lived and the character they’ve passed down that helps make me, me. But it’s also made me wonder:
What Type of Legacy Will I Leave?
I am the third David Lee Hearn in my line. Will my descendants look at the line of David Lee’s and say they were men of faith, servanthood, and steadfastness? I can only hope. Will my son and my daughters catch some of that legacy and pass it to their children?
What have I passed on today? Was it anger and frustration? Or was it devotion and integrity?
Humans have always been preoccupied with “leaving their mark on this world.” Do I need to do that with something physical, some sort of celebrity or reknown? Maybe I will simply leave my legacy to generations of Hearns to come, passing down not only DNA but a “spirit.”
What Inheritance Will I Leave?
When we think of inheritance, we think of cash, jewelry, homes, and wealth. But what inheritance am I building for my children today? Am I creating a firm foundation that they can build on? Am I making wise decisions so that I can pass down a net positive, not a negative?
You bet I am.
I plan on leaving my children both a spiritual and natural inheritance. Hopefully the spiritual inheritance will continue to bless them and their families. (And hopefully the natural inheritance does too!)
Another aspect is that I am not squandering the inheritance already given me–and no, I’m not talking about cash here. I’m talking about using my inheritance and investing it in the lives of others, so that my kids can do the same.
We Need A Bigger Plan
You can bet that God’s got this thing figured out until the end. Then why do we have to plan in one or two year chunks? My father-in-law Andrew Shearman talks about creating a 100-year plan… I have to admit that my plan gets a little fuzzy after about 10 years…. and 50 years out, it’s more like a wispy dream than a plan.
But it’s a start.
Whether you have a family or are just thinking about what it would one day look like, start thinking about Legacy, Inheritance, and Plan now.
Start living your legacy. Start building your inheritance (the word “building” inferring actual work!) and start planning for your children and your children’s children.