Re-thinking what your legacy will be

In John 15:16 Jesus said: “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”

What impact will I have on the world? What will my legacy be? What kind of a difference will I make?

In my experience, people tend to think of their impact or influence in the world in terms of what they perceive to be achievements. So-and-so won a gold medal, so-and-so became wealthy, so-and-so built a nice house, or so-and-so founded the town’s fall fair.

As a pastor, I’ve listened to dozens upon dozens of eulogies. These are speeches which friends or family members say at funerals. While some people talk about achievements, most people talk about character. They talk about how their loved one was forgiving, or “always there for you,” or faithful, or kind, or funny, or hard working, or honest, or… 

I don’t want to underestimate the significance of being named MVP at the regional soccer championship or inventing a new flavour of ice cream. But your legacy has more to do with who you are than with what you achieve.

You don’t hear the word “virtue” very much these days. Perhaps that’s because the dark forces in our world—swirling around us from every direction—would love to make it sound old, out-of-date or prudish; if it can be erased from the dictionaries and from our conversations perhaps fewer people will think such a thing exists, and that God has summoned us upward in personal holiness and love. Satan snickers and rubs his hands with delight from the shadows.

But each and every one of us, through the cultivation of virtue, and with God’s own help, can bear the “fruit” Jesus speaks of—fruit that will last and be a blessing to the people around us, both in this generation and the next.

What will your impact be?

Your legacy has more to do with who you are than with what you achieve.


Upcoming. This week stay tuned for “Serious, self-sacrificial evangelism—a talk by Will Han.” It will be available on ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan.’

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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