Forging A Legacy

November 9, 2016
by Martin Wiles

Proverbs 13:22 – Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner's wealth passes to the godly. (NLT)

As I perused each entry, I wondered what I'd read.

I was ending my four-year stint as a middle school language arts teacher. The headmaster had selected the final chapel service as the time for me to officially inform the students that I was leaving and why. As a gift, the marketing department had presented me with a yearbook for the children to sign.

In each class, I passed my yearbook around the room. At the end of the day, I began reading the entries. Without exception, each one told me that I was their favourite teacher. That was encouraging. Then I came to the entry of one quiet young man who seemed more mature than his classmates and who didn't participate in their frequent horseplay. His entry stated, "You have pushed my limits both academically and morally, but I know that your hard work will make me a better person." Tears formed in my eyes. My goal had been reached.

God had given me a four-year opportunity to leave a legacy to many people's children and grandchildren, in addition to my own. I didn't take it lightly. I knew that teaching at a Christian school was more of a ministry than it was a profession.

Forging a legacy occurs whether I intend for it to or not. If I don't purposefully forge a good legacy, I will leave a poor one. I planned to forge a good one at the school, but I often wondered whether my having to discipline the children for poor choices and bad behaviour would interfere with their being able to see my example. Evidently, they had been able to separate the two, just as I, as a believer, realize that God's discipline doesn't define Him as mean.

Forging a legacy requires intentional endeavours. If I want my legacy to point others to Christ and the abundant, fulfilling life that He offers, I must have a plan and goals. People are always watching — which can make living a Christ-like example tricky. Only by the power and direction of God's Spirit can I forge a lasting spiritual legacy for those whom I influence.

Let us each make up our minds that we will forge a legacy that will impact others for generations to come.

Prayer: Father, enable us to leave behind a spiritual legacy that will live on for many years. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>

Greenwood, South Carolina, USA


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Amen Martin.


    Martin!
    Thank you for food for thought!


    Wonderful thoughts Martin and so true.
    Many Blessings.


    Thanks for your interesting story and it’s message.
    Blessings.


    Martin, thanks for the reminder that we have a responsibility to leave an upright legacy for our children and grandchildren. Blessings.


    Hi Martin,
    Thank you for those good words this morning
    Blessings.


    Amen, Martin!
    Thanks for writing to us.
    When we let Christ come through us, we leave the best impression.


    Dear Martin Wiles,
    As a teacher who once taught in Christian Schools (as well as public schools) I was with you.
    Keep writing for Jesus sake.


    Dear Martin,
    Thank you for your devotional, which rings very true for me. It recalls my time in Boy Scouts when I taught the Citizenship merit badges. One of my pupils paid me a similar comment during his Eagle Board of Review. When asked which merit badges he valued the most, he said the Citizenship badges, because I had made him work hard for them and he felt that those were the badges he had truly earned. One, amongst many, important lessons I learned during my time as an assistant scoutmaster was that the boys did not mind being held to high standards of behavior and achievement, they welcomed and appreciated the challenge. The biggest mistake we make with our youth and ourselves and in our churches is thinking that the easy way will win us friends and followers. Children, indeed all of us, need boundaries, guidelines and challenges. As Paul noted in Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”


    Your article today was both beautiful and inspiring. It reminds me to always live my Christian life before anyone.
    Thanks you.

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