“The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives.” ~ Billy Graham
Leaders must learn to “live their legacy” if they plan to “leave a legacy”. Life has a lot of distractions and legacies often get lost. Some leaders lose their legacy through disqualification due to reckless behavior. Others lose their legacy because even though they started strong they didn’t stay with it and their influence faded. Most legacies are lost however in the generations to follow. They just simply forget about the legacy lived and it becomes a legacy lost. This happened even with the amazing legacy of Joseph.
In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation. But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land. Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. (Exodus 1:6-8 NLT)
Change is part of life. Nothing stays to same for long. Leaders must learn how to predict and navigate change both during their life and leadership, and beyond. Legacies that last are left by leaders who live legacies designed to survive change. Lasting legacies focus on the “who” and the “why” of life. Legacies that focus on the “where, what, when, and how” will be lost.
For a Christian leader, the “who” and the “why” are the eternal components of living a legacy that will last. Legacies last when they are based on “who” we are in Christ and “why” we serve Him with our lives. This “who” and “why” never change and they are not affected by change.
History has proven that “where, what, when and how” all change with time. They are vulnerable to progress and to new ways of thinking. Dominant world powers have changed every few hundred years. The “where” of world power has moved from Greece, to Rome to Great Brittan to America to just name a few. The “what” is constantly changing with technology while the question of “when” often seems to raise issues of uncertainty and stress. The “how” is always affected by advancement and the process of continual improvement.
Generations to come will change and most legacies will be lost unless they are intentionally built to last. Notice that the legacy of Joseph was lost when the new king new nothing about what “Joseph had done.” Even though Joseph had an amazing legacy, it was lost when the “who” and “why” were forgotten. The Jewish people ended up enduring four hundred years of captivity in Egypt before Moses was raised up by God to remind the people of the “who” and “why” of Joseph’s legacy. In fact, Moses took Joseph’s bones with them when they left Egypt to remind the Jews of God’s promise to them as a people.
Determine today to be intentional about living and leaving a lasting legacy.