What legacy will you leave the world?

By Michael Risley

In the 1995 movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, the story is told of Glenn Holland, who thought his life was compromised when he reluctantly put aside his dream of composing an opus and accepted a job as a high school music teacher.

His goal in life was to write one significant piece of music to leave as his legacy to the world.

Thirty years pass and Mr. Holland learns that the music program at his school will be cancelled because of budget cuts. His life is all but spent, his opus never completed, and his school is eliminating his position.

A surprise farewell party is attended by hundreds of his former students. Now young men and women with happy and successful lives and careers, they have gathered to let Mr. Holland know of his impact on their lives. One of his former students is the governor of the state, and she addresses the gathering. Though Mr. Holland never completed his music masterpiece, she declares that his life work is a symphony of lives, “and we are your Opus.” According to this definition of success, Mr. Holland’s legacy is greater than he ever dreamed it could be.

Legacy can be defined as “something immaterial, as a style or philosophy, that is passed from one generation to another” (The Free Dictionary). Like Mr. Holland, do you have something worthwhile, maybe a skill or knowledge, to pass to the next generation? Many people pass on skills and knowledge related to cooking, sports, politics, writing, and so many other worthwhile activities.

My father-in-law passed on his knowledge and skill in building cars and buildings to his grandson. What do you want to pass on to the next generation? What legacy would you choose for yourself? What do you think would be the greatest thing you could give to others?

In Matthew 22: 35-39, Jesus is asked by a Pharisee, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Here is my question to you: What is the greatest way you could love your neighbor? Wouldn’t it be incredible to help your neighbor to fulfill the most important commandment of loving God with their total being?!

I would suggest that the greatest legacy you and I could ever have is to help others love God. And the Scriptures teach that the primary way of helping others love God is by obeying The Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. In this passage He says to His disciples,

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Ponder: Will your legacy involve “The Great Commission?” Are you intentionally impacting others for Christ? In the weeks ahead, Senior Living Ministries will be exploring ways to help you develop a legacy that will last forever. So be sure to come back!