I’ve heard it said that it is not what is taught, but caught. Likewise, it is not what we expect but what we inspect that reveals whether or not the legacy we are seeking to pass on is “sticking”.
The next generation stands to inherit a lot from those who have gone before them. Families inherit genes, some good, some bad. They also stand to inherit our wise or foolish spending and investment choices. They might even inherit some of our character – both noble and ignoble.
But in all that we pass down, more important than financially giving an inheritance to our family members, business partners or ministry leaders is giving them wisdom and developing them into what they need to be for the future in order to sustain and carry your legacy forward.
Future children and grandchildren need to be nurtured into the men and women of God to raise the next godly generation. Future business leaders need to be guided to have integrity in the workplace and become the godly managers who can carry your Kingdom vision forward. Ministry leaders need the passion we carry to lead them on to pick up the mantle of leadership we carried.
This is where intentionality becomes the primary tool in cultivating a continuing legacy. In the one corner we have our goals, but in the other corner is reality. How we make our goals a reality is where many legacies are lost.
Planning. Planning is at the foundation of legacy building and the continuation of that legacy. As we seek to pass on our values and Kingdom mentality, we have to know well what it is we are passing down and be able to form plans that will enable that process.
Communication. Relying on a legacy to be transferred without preparing to communicate the vision to the next generation leaves that vision unfulfilled. As we seek to keep the vision God has given us alive, conversations have to be planned and executed toward that end.
Busyness. Things are not slowing down in our culture, which is one more reason intentionality is necessary. As Moses encouraged the people of God in Deuteronomy 11:19-21 to pass on the legacy to their children, we discover that busyness does not have to deter our wisdom transfer to the next generation, for it is in all of life that we transfer our vision and legacy: “Teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. Inscribe them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates so that your days and those of your descendants may be extended in the land which the LORD promised to give to your ancestors, like the days of heaven itself.”
The Cost. The cost is too high to not pass down what God has shown to us. The blessing for our children, our future business leaders and our ministry leaders is counting on our investment. As we seek to be faithful with the talents, resources and vision God has given us, paramount above all is our heart attitude and character, guided by wisdom. Without which, all that has been given us can easily be misused and no longer have eternal value.
Like Solomon who wisely chose wisdom above all else – over fame and riches – we, too, need to see wisdom as the highest gift we can offer those who come behind us. May they find us faithful in doing so.