I grew up in the 70s and 80s, born in 1972. I know, I know. One more year and I’ll be hitting half a century! It is hard to imagine that I have lived on this earth for almost 50 years. I like to think I’m in a sweet spot… I’ve lived enough to have some wisdom and experience, yet I have a lot of life left to live. Presently, I am feeling an increasing tug on my heart to invest in those around me in a greater measure… desiring to leave an imprint of my life that will not go away the day I die. Allow me to share a story that drives this point home.
In the 80s, a CEO of one of the three main car manufacturers went to a large Japanese car manufacturing conference. He went, prepared to spend the week, learning the ins and outs of the company as to why they were becoming so successful. He walked into the first session of the conference where one of the Japanese CEOs began his presentation by writing their company’s 100 year vision on the white board. He walked out only minutes later and caught the next flight home. The president of the company saw him walk into the office and questioned why he had come home so early. The CEO said, “I heard all I needed to know… we are building cars. They are building a legacy. We can’t compete.”
What a wake-up call. I love what Kris Vallotton says: “What you believe about the end has everything to do with how you behave in the middle.” It’s about building legacy. Wise people are builders. We are affecting eternity by what we do today. Proverbs 24:3 says “Wise people are builders — they build families, businesses, (and) communities. And through intelligence and insight their enterprises are established and endure.”
The question is how do we build? The answer is that we build with legacy. We build with vision; having vision beyond ourselves. What is legacy? Legacy is putting a stamp on the future. It is the reflection and impact of a person’s life that affects people and places. A few synonyms would be “heritage, inheritance, gift and foundation.”
We are wise to build legacy. Jesus built legacy. He was always pouring into those around Him, investing in them with His love, His wisdom, His compassion and His Word. He used every minute of His life with purpose. You may say, “I’m too old to leave a legacy” but I assure you that you are NEVER too old to make a difference — start right now! When you gain clarity on what legacy you can build, you will give your life meaning and purpose.
God asks us to live sacrificially. He desires that we live our lives for Him and for others; serving in ways that we were destined to serve. Our lives are not for building our own agendas. When we look at it with the perspective of building legacy, it fuels us to accomplish what our life was meant to be. If life is feeling meaningless or empty, it’s time to ask God for a desire to build a life with legacy in mind.
Let’s build lasting legacy into our family, our business, and our community. I am praying that your heart, dear reader, becomes enlarged and open to great possibilities of building legacy, no matter how big or small affecting and impacting people and places. What is your 100 year plan? I’m going to be working on mine this week! Are you?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.