Each of us is blessed with a certain number of years on this planet. For some, that time is relatively short. For others, the decades seemingly stretch on one after another.
Regardless of the number of years we’re granted, it’s written in our genetic code that we want to be remembered. When we’re gone, we want our family and friends to recall how we impacted their lives. Maybe with kindness, generosity, mentorship, or a thousand other behaviors or traits that left an indelible mark.
This is important, and we all should strive to live in such a way where our lives are not easily forgotten. We typically think of this as “leaving a legacy.” Leaving something behind that tangibly speaks to who we were and how we lived.
This can speak to everything from how we treated our children, spouse or friends, to how we handled crises, job transfers and our finances.
However, the “leaving a legacy” approach focuses mainly on one thing: looking behind to see what you’ve done or left. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it tends to focus on what’s in the rear-view mirror and not to the road ahead.
If we’re concerned about “leaving a legacy,” it seems important that we should also be concerned about “living a legacy.” “Leaving a legacy” is natural and normal. “Living a legacy” is radical and life changing—for you and for those you encounter.
Living a legacy means becoming proactive in how you live each day in order to maximize your impact. It means passionately living out your faith each day so that Christ is glorified and others are encouraged to live more like Him; or if they don’t know Him, to take steps to discover more about Christ. It’s about demonstrating love, mercy and forgiveness to a world in desperate need of all three.
In essence … it’s about your Jesus footprint.
Maximizing your Jesus footprint
We’re all aware of the impact of our daily lives on future generations. We monitor how much we drive, the size house we own, how much electricity we use and a host of other significant activities.
We’ve even come up with a term to describe our personal—or communal—impact on the environment: carbon footprint.
Most people have at least a general awareness of their carbon footprint and are concerned with ways to limit or reduce it.
While we care about our carbon footprint and its impact, we should care even more about our Jesus footprint: the influence and lasting impact we make on our world in the name of Jesus.
The Jesus footprint means that Christ-like love oozes from our attitudes and actions, making those we encounter eager to know more about Him. It also means that otherworldly love, grace and mercy are essential byproducts of how we live.
It’s essentially our way of living a legacy.
Here’s a brief synopsis of how our carbon footprint compares to our Jesus footprint:
Carbon footprint vs. Jesus footprint
Want to reduce Want to expand
Bad for the environment Good for the environment
Will negatively impact future generations Will positively impact future generations
Can be challenging to control Easy to invest in; the Holy Spirit controls
Can seem as if my role will have little impact What I do can help change eternity
Paul gives a good description of an important component of the Jesus footprint in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
As believers, we are encouraged to live in such a way that our actions and attitudes reflect Jesus. He literally changed the world. And each of us, in our own small yet eternal ways, can change the world as well.
The size of your Jesus footprint is intertwined with how well you live your legacy.
This week, spend a few minutes considering your Jesus footprint: what it looks like, where it’s lacking, how to expand it, etc. Write down a few insights and challenges, and spend the week praying about how to grow your Jesus footprint.
The next five weeks (five chapters in the eBook) will explore practical ways to live your legacy, live generously and live in such a way as to grow your Jesus footprint.
Each chapter addresses practical actions you can take to live your legacy today. We hope you will be encouraged to embrace the challenge and see how God intervenes in your life and in the lives of those you impact.
Are you ready to take the 5-Week Living a Legacy Challenge?