In our desire to leave a legacy to loved ones, we can miss the mark if we don’t understand what the focus of our legacy should be. Legacy is not measured by our ability, but by the character that is behind all that we do. The substance of a successful legacy is faithfulness.

The substance of a successful legacy is not what we achieve.

While it is easy to define a legacy by what we achieve, a legacy is not necessarily about being successful. A legacy refers to the impact we have after we are gone. This impact can be positive, negative, or neutral. Ultimately, our legacy  is shaped by our actions, choices, and values. A successful legacy can have a profound impact on future generations.

So what does success look like as we seek to leave a positive legacy that will impact those who come behind us?

The substance of a successful legacy is Faithfulness.

A legacy is not about making our name live on. A successful legacy should inspire others to live in such way that they are faithful to their family, faithful in their vocation, and most of all, faithful to God. Faithfulness cannot be compromised. It speaks volumes about a person before they even say a word or try to influence others.

Someone may be considered to have a positive legacy if they made a significant contribution to their community. Such as helping others in need, or inspiring others to make positive changes in their lives. But a righteous legacy leaves an imprint on one’s soul that goes past deeds to a higher motivation—God’s glory.

If the mark of a successful legacy is faithfulness, this brings great encouragement to us all. We are not accountable to make others follow or to build a legacy that is successful in the world’s eyes. We are just accountable to live faithfully in the hopes that the faithfulness we exhibit will inspire others to be faithful, too. That kind of legacy lasts forever as one generation after the next has “caught” the legacy from the former generation through faithful lives lived.