Legacy: Abraham, Isaac, Obama, and Trump

As the date for swearing in our 45th president draws ever closer, I can’t help but think about the idea of legacy. People are talking about the achievements of President Obama. People are talking about the impact the boorish behavior of Donald Trump is having on people. Everywhere I turn, I am confronted with legacy.

What really is legacy? Is it a scorecard of what we have done? In some manner, yes. Is it an example we have set? Most certainly. Is it what people think about us? I don’t think so. Legacy is very simply what is left to someone else. It doesn’t matter what people think of us, it matters what we leave to them. This can be done tangibly with actual things, but most importantly it is done by how we behave and by what our behavior says we value.

I was reading in Genesis 25-26 this morning about the end of Abraham’s life and the life of his son, Isaac. Compared to Abraham and Jacob, there is very little that is written about Isaac. What we do know, however, is that Isaac followed in his father’s footsteps. Both good and bad. He sought the Lord when his wife was barren and she became pregnant. He lied about his wife being his sister. He favored one child over another one. He built altars to the Lord to praise Him.

In this passage, we see that Isaac received blessing and promise from God based on Abraham’s faithfulness and obedience. Abraham’s legacy to Isaac was complete. Abraham was far from perfect and he passed along a few bad habits along the way, but he did pass along a legacy that is still talked about today.

When it comes to our faith and finances, whether we like it or not, we are passing a legacy on to our children. As my dad loves to say, “more is caught, than taught.” Our children will very likely follow the things that they watch us do. The things we say are very important, but they only have staying power if they are backed up by our actions.

So, what legacy of faith and finances are you leaving to your children?

It’s never too late to start. Start now. Model a life of stewardship, generosity, and responsibility to your children. It is the absolute best legacy you can leave them. If you do not model these well and leave them an abundance of possessions, you are leaving a devastating legacy. If you model these well and leave them nothing, you are leaving a legacy that will survive generations. What you teach them matters more than what you leave them. Teach them well.