We keep hearing about a "legacy" in these parts, especially when a president is ending, or has ended, a term in office. I don't rightly recollect hearing the word used until recent years, maybe with President Bill Clinton. What is a legacy? The first definition that Merriam-Webster gives involves bequeathed money or property, but that's clearly not what's being discussed. The second definition is: "something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past". That's where we want to be.
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In the bigger scheme of things, a legacy would be something substantial that was left behind, hopefully to benefit subsequent generations. That's the key to this article. Perhaps when someone's name is mentioned, it brings to mind that certain beneficial something. Unfortunately, people have left legacies that are negative: Bill Clinton was (and is) a philanderer, B. Hussein Obama will be remembered by many as a divisive, abortion-promoting, race-baiting leftist who considers his activities mirific, Fidel Castro as a brutal, murderous dictator. And so on.
It's been said that in 200 years, we will all have been forgotten. While there's a wealth of information on the Web, all information about people is not, cannot, be there. There are records for statesmen, but Secretary of State Henry Clay is not exactly someone that is instantly remembered, nor members of his family. Who were the nurses at Hartford Hospital when it opened in 1854? What was the name of that girl that sat in the back of the classroom when you were eight years old? I saw a list of celebrities (entertainers and political leaders) that died in 2016, and I wasn't all that stirred up. In 2010, shortly after I recommitted my life to Christ, I found out that Dana Key had died, and I cried a river. The DeGarmo and Key band had impacted my life, and I still have fond memories.
Fame and memories are fickle. It's been said that the good things we do are written in water, but the bad things are carved in stone. There's some truth in that, as positive things about people, famous or not, are frequently overshadowed by bad things they've done.
Some people want fame on the Web, whether writing brilliant articles or being vituperative sidewinders who seek to save "science" from biblical creationists. Web fame is elusive. Some jasper called PewDiePie said he'd delete his YouTube account if he got 50 million followers, reached that mark, it's still there three weeks later. I'd never heard of him until the story made social media news. There are other ways of seeking prestige, but we have to admit that it will all be gone someday.
I'd like to be remembered in a positive way, but if I am, those memories will fade as well. I think of people in my past that I've hurt years ago and hope they've forgiven me. Perhaps some of the good things I've done will not be entirely forgotten. Even so, I want to make an impact on people here and now with the gospel and the truth of biblical creation. Perhaps we'll meet in Heaven and I'll find out that I helped someone.
In The Dark Knight, Alfred told Bruce Wayne, "Some men just want to watch the world burn". Guess what? It will happen according to God's plan (2 Peter 3:10-11). We are all going to stand before Jesus Christ, and the works of believers will be revealed by fire (1 Cor. 3:12-15, Rom. 14:10-11), and those who reject Jesus have a terrifying destiny (Rev. 20:11-15 and 21:8, Matt. 25:41-46). I'll never be important and have a legacy on Earth. Big deal. The important thing is to please God.