The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
~ William James
We transfer our worldly possessions through a trust or last will and testament. We will also pass on our legacy regardless of whether it’s good or bad when we pass away. Like the fingerprints we leave behind, our legacy establishes we were here and impacted the world. The cavemen left us crude and colorful drawings of their most exciting hunts and exploits.
Early cultures left us significant literature and works of art, inventions and scientific discoveries. People with financial fortunes left behind large inheritances, endowments and charitable donations. Great leaders have their image on their countries’ currency and have ships and buildings named after them.
Our parents, relatives, friends, teachers and leaders also left us a legacy to follow. These people have influenced us for good and in some cases for bad. As stepfathers, we leave a legacy by being one – because we didn’t have to be, but our legacy must be more than in title only.
As the leader, within our households we are leaving footprints for those behind to follow. Our legacy must be to live well to leave our children with the values and character that will help them achieve greatness and personal fulfillment in their lives. While in your blended family you may feel at times like the invisible man what you do affects and influences others within your sphere of influence stepchildren included.
This responsibility makes it essential for us to leave a positive legacy. As men, we need to be purposeful about the legacy we leave. How we live is very important. My challenge to you is to think about the major areas of your life: family/home, spiritual, financial, career, physical health, and education where you can and should leave a lasting legacy.
Al Sanders, in his book Crisis in Morality, compares the descendants of two men who lived in the United States over 150 years ago.
- Max Jukes was an atheist.
- He did not believe in Christ or in Christian training.
- He married an ungodly girl and refused to take his children to church, even when they asked to go.
- At the time the book was written there were approximately 1200 descendants from this union. Of these,
- 310 died as paupers,
- 150 were criminals,
- Seven were murderers,
- 100 were drunkards, and
- more than half of the women were prostitutes.
- His 540 descendants cost the State one and a quarter million dollar
Jonathan Edwards lived at the same time as Max Jukes, but he married a godly woman.
He loved the Lord and saw that his children were in church every Sunday as he served the Lord to the best of his ability.
An investigation was made of 1,394 of his known descendants.
- Thirteen of his offspring became college presidents,
- 65 became college professors,
- 100 lawyers,
- 30 judges,
- 60 physicians,
- 76 army and navy officers,
- 100 preachers and missionaries,
- 60 authors of prominence,
- Three United States Senators,
- One Vice President of the United States,
- 80 public officials in other capacities, and
- 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries.
His descendants did not cost the state a single penny.
As a stepfather, you can bless your children with greatness or further hurt their hearts and minds. What are you teaching others by your daily example? Where are your footprints leading? Leave footprints that will make your legacy a blessed one.
Solomon, the wisest king who ever lived wrote, “The memory of the just is blessed.”