A Legacy worth living

Legacy is a term used in athletics to define what we leave behind and are remembered for. In athletics, we strive to be that person who leaves a mark and is remembered for MVP’s and other awards, or a team remembered for winning the championship, or even the coach with the most wins on their record.

In my own experience as a college athlete, the pressure of performance and a coach who emphasized a legacy of winning began to impact me. There was constant pressure to not lose, and to continue in the pattern of a legacy of winning. I was a part of a program that had national precedence, but I started to realize although I wanted to win, winning in itself was not fully satisfying.

As I went into my senior year I realized I wanted my legacy to be so much more than performance. I wanted to be a person who invested in my teammates not only on the court but more importantly off. I wanted to be a light for the God who gave me my gifts and abilities in the first place. I realize now that my legacy is more than just myself and more than just sports. As a follower of Jesus, my legacy is not only my present witness for Him, but also how my faith legacy can have a ripple effect into the lives of so many others in a way I cannot even imagine.

I was challenged reading Hebrews 11:4 in the description of Abel: “and through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” Typically, when we think about death, that’s it. It’s the end. You no longer have a voice. This scripture shows that death is not the end. Our voice carries on. It is through his faith that Abel is still speaking after his death, and it is by our faith that we can live a life that is not just for ourselves but for those who come after us.

Another example of a noteworthy faith legacy in scripture occurs when the Israelites were passing through the Jordan River. After 40 years of being in the desert, they were finally about to enter the promise land. Joshua instructed twelve men to pick up and carry a stone to the other side as they crossed over. This crossing place is named Gilgal, and here the Israelites used the stones to build an altar in remembrance of God’s faithfulness and promise. 97 years later there was an Israelite judge named Ehud traveling to pay tribute to King Eglon. Eglon had defeated the people of Israel in battle and made them serve as slaves. As Ehud was on his journey home, he turned back at the stone images in Gilgal. One image that would have been visible at Gilgal was the alter built in remembrance of God’s promise. How powerful it is to think that the alter built 97 years before could be just the reminder that Ehud needed. He proceeded to go and kill King Eglon, causing eighty years of peace for the Israelites. These examples in scripture cause me to consider how living my faith journey can have a ripple effect 97 years later.

What kind of altars of legacy do you want to build? As an athlete, a coach, or a parent it is so easy to build alters around our success, but success is so fleeting. Once an athletic or coaching career is over, the stats and the games won no longer have much significance. I desire to have built altars and lived a life of legacy which remind myself and others of the faithfulness God has demonstrated to me throughout my life. Those alters more importantly should remind those who come after me of all that God has done and is capable of doing.

What God does for us is never just for us, and we should live our life in a way knowing we are pioneering a path for those in the future. I want my faith to speak long after I am gone and my legacy to point to the One who deserves all the glory. Our athletic legacy and our faith legacy is built in our day to day lives over time. What we build each day will leave a legacy. The question is who and what will that legacy point to? We must consider who we are following and those we are serving. Are we serving ourselves, striving for our own recognition or accomplishment or are we doing what we are called to do for God’s glory?




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