A Good Legacy
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:13-14 (ESV)
“Faithful disciple, loving family man, encouraging friend. We will forever love and miss you” is the inscription written on the gravestone shown in the image below. James 4:13-14 and this picture remind us of the fragility of life and the importance of the example we set for others. This article will discuss what God’s word says regarding how to be a faithful disciple, love our family and encourage others.
Be a Faithful Disciple
Jesus states in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” This starts with obeying the gospel plan of salvation:
Hear - Romans 10:17
Believe - Hebrews 11:6
Repent - Acts 3:19
Confess – Luke 12:8
Baptism (i.e. water immersion) - Acts 2:38
It continues with a daily walk of faith until death (Revelation 2:10). It also concerns our worship (John 4:23), which includes a weekly observance of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20.7). As we grow older, we have a responsibility to teach others (Titus 2:2-8).
Love Our Family
Malachi 3:16 states, “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” Therefore, being faithful to our spouses is a critical component of loving our family according to God’s word. Fathers also have a responsibility to “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them in up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” – Ephesians 6:1. Another aspect of loving our families is providing for them according to God’s word (1 Timothy 5:8, Hebrews 13:5).
Titus 1:7-8 describes an elder’s character as one who is “hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” These are character traits that all disciples of Christ should have. Hospitality refers to our willingness to spend time with others and demonstrate our concern for them. Our effectiveness in spreading the gospel of Christ depends on this being a priority in our lives. We should also seek to avoid harsh judgment of others as illustrated in Job 13:4.
The phrase “for all the walks we never got to finish” in Figure 2 reminds us how precious our time is. It is our responsibility to live each day God gives us in view of eternity so our legacy is one of victory instead of defeat (Revelation 2:25-26).
Figure 2, "Our Time is Precious"
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.