Have you ever considered caregiving as part of leaving a legacy? A legacy is anything handed down from the past from an ancestor or predecessor. It is usually something of value, something to be desired and hopefully appreciated. When we think of legacy, we think of family, of future generations. And as Christians, hopefully we think of more than money. We want to influence future generations for good, whether we ever know those offspring or not.
An example of a godly legacy is Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan preacher from the 1700s. He and his wife Sarah left a wonderful godly legacy of faithful service for his eleven children. Early in the 20th century, American educator and pastor A.E. Winship traced the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death. His offspring included: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries.
Contrast this with the legacy left by a man known as Max Jukes, whose legacy came to the forefront when the family trees of 42 different men in the New York prison system traced back to him. Max Jukes’ descendants included: 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts, 310 paupers (with over 2,300 years lived in poorhouses), and 400 who were physically wrecked by indulgent living. It was estimated that Max Juke’s descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.
We will all leave a legacy. The question is, will it be a legacy of love and generational healing or a legacy of selfishness and generational destruction?