I have an old whitetail rack in my basement that I inherited from my grandfather. It’s no longer on a mount. It sits on a shelf. At the time my great-grandfather harvested it, it was one of the largest whitetails known to be taken in the area of Arkansas he was hunting. The skull plate was broken by the taxidermist, so I can’t tell you what it scores, and frankly I don’t care. The exponentially more important part of me having that rack is that my great-grandpa, who passed on a long time ago, was blessed to have the opportunity to harvest something beyond special. Now I have it to remember him by.
Here’s the hard truth. There will come a day when no one will care how many miles you hiked, how far a shot you took, how long it took to reel in that fish, or what the net score of any animal was. What will matter to them will be who you were to them while you were still alive.
That’s right, I’m talking about a legacy. My great grandpa’s legacy was a conversion in his life that was dramatic. Going from alcohol abuse to a small town pastor who, when he died, left such an impression on the people around him that the funeral home couldn’t hold them all during the service. Even if he never got to share the gospel with them, they knew about his character, his kindness, and his work ethic.
But what about now?
If you were to go to grandpa’s town today, only a handful of the folks there have any memory of him. That’s what time does to a legacy. It chips away, slowly but surely. No one can escape it. We can do the most incredible things while we are here and some day, no one will remember who we were or what we did.
Oh sure. It’s a lot of fun to think that our kids will have photos and taxidermy mounts to remember us by. As a Christian sportsman though, I’m constantly reminded that the most important legacy I can leave for my children is one that causes them to always remember what’s most important.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
In Matthew 16:19-21 Jesus instructs us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven because where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. I don’t want my kid’s treasure to be in what was, as much as I want their treasure to be in what will be. I want them to treasure the thought of me being with God when I am gone and them being with God when they are gone.
One of the worst things that can happen at my funeral is for people to be standing around with their hands in their pockets talking about how “nice a guy” I was. The highest legacy I can leave, and the best thing that can be said about me, is that I was an instrumental part of God’s kingdom going forward in my family’s life and in the world around me.
A deer head on a wall is a marker of something great that happened in the past. It should be celebrated. But the worn out Bible in my kid’s hands on Sunday morning is a beacon into future glory.