Have you ever sung a song that sounded good and bad at the same time? A lot of contemporary Christian music is like that. I have been hearing a song a lot recently that was catchy and pointed to “Only Jesus,” but something didn’t seem right to me. It was a song by “Casting Crowns” called “Only Jesus.” The words go like this:
“And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
It sounded good on the surface, so I sang along with it. But then it did not seem right. My discernment antennae perked up.
Then I realized that the sentiment of the lyrics is good, but the theology is bad. Yes, it is all about Jesus—and only Jesus. Centered on and absorbed in Jesus, yes. Ambitions to get ahead or leave a name for ourselves, no.
But not wanting to leave a legacy did not ring true and right to me.
Maybe it was because of my age and the fact that I had read books by Billy Graham, John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, and others on leaving a legacy. Were they all wrong?
So I went to the Scriptures. The word “legacy” is not found in the Bible, but the equivalent terms “inheritance,” “trust,” and “stewardship” are indeed found actually hundreds of times in Scripture. Here is a brief sampling:
“A good person leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, And the wealth of a sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Prov 13:22).
“Wisdom along with an inheritance is good” (Proverbs 7:11).
“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you” (1 Timothy 6:20)
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
We are called to be stewards of the gifts and calling of God in our lives. We are commanded to guard our trust. We are accountable for leaving a wise legacy for God, not for ourselves.
The Apostle Paul, acutely aware that his life was drawing near to an end, found peace and satisfaction that he had been a good steward of the call of God on his life:
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Paul left an incredible legacy. He finished his course well. I want to do the same.
I will not be singing that song anymore. On the contrary, I want to leave a legacy—a biblical legacy—not to be remembered, but to steward well what God has called me to do, to impart the deeper and higher life in Christ. I want to finish well.