Maybe you have pondered similar things…
What individual purpose am I designed for in this life? Am I living up to all that God is calling me to be? I’m already a twenty-something (or insert your current age) — have I even made a positive impact on anyone’s life?
Working as a dietitian in the intensive care unit these past few months, I am too often reminded of the brevity of life. From time to time I’ll picture myself as my patient fighting for his life with friends and family members gathered around saying their final goodbyes. Sometimes the room is filled with tears and laughter; other times with anger and regrets. And heartbreakingly, some individuals have no loved ones by their side as they take their final breaths. Seeing all of this, I can’t help but to wonder how every family member or friend's life was influenced, positively or negatively, by my patient. The life and death of one person can have such an impact on who we are and who we will become.
So that begs the question — what kind of legacy will I leave behind one day? How will I be remembered?
Today on my third official Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31. This passage describes how an excellent wife is far more precious than jewels (Proverbs 31:10). If you have never read this text (or it’s been awhile since you’ve read it), I encourage you to click the link above to review the passage. This lady is the epitome of well-intentioned women and is devoted to the well-being of her household. Here’s just a few characteristics of her womanly excellence: she is trusted by her husband (v. 11); she serves her family, friends, neighbours (v. 15, 20); she uses her time wisely (v. 27); she spends money wisely (v. 16); she’s industrious and willing to work with her hands (v. 13). Furthermore, “her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…” (Proverbs 31:28).
At first glance, the list as described in the passage is a little overwhelming. But don’t get caught up in this woman’s seemingly perfect life. This woman is an ideal — a role model for all women, wives, and mothers. It’s not our job to live the perfect life, nor can we (Romans 3:10-12, 23-24). Christ did that. One thing we can take from this is that a "Proverbs 31 Woman" lives a life full of purpose.
And then, after her excellent qualities are illustrated, comes an important reminder:
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
The second part of the verse goes on to say, “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” So a godly woman may have both charm and beauty, but her godliness is much more important. The fear of the Lord doesn’t mean that you are afraid of him, but it instead means you have a loving reverence for God including submission to him and the commands in his Word (the Holy Bible). If there is something that I want my children to remember about me after I have gone to spend eternity with Christ in heaven, it’s that I lived my life serving the Lord. Likewise, that I spent the necessary time teaching my children the truths of God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). That kind of legacy will be passed on for generations.
But, I think it's crucial to note — leaving a godly legacy doesn’t happen overnight. This is a continuous process. Your legacy begins with your relationship with God. Take time every day to spend in prayer and reading his Word. Ask God to help you to find his purpose for your life, and pray that your children will find a sense of purpose and direction as well. A life committed to following Christ means not only to trust him but to obey his Word and his commandments, asking for grace and forgiveness on a daily basis. Remember, this does not mean we will be able to live the perfect life, but we can model a purposeful one after the “Proverbs 31 Woman.” Even more so, we can live a life in service to others following the Lord Jesus Christ, the ultimate servant (Mark 10:45).
So — what will your legacy be?