2016 is a banner year for me – it is the year I technically become a senior citizen – at least in the eyes of the government. I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed the “senior discounts” for quite some time at movie theaters and other venues – but I still cringe when I ask for it. Putting my vanity issue aside, I have begun to think about what it means to reach this milestone. I have been asking myself, “Does wisdom really come with age? Do I deserve more respect as my hair thins and turns gray? How should my priorities change – if at all? And of course – is it appropriate for me to buy slim-style jeans?
But the most important question I’m asking is, “What is the legacy that I’m leaving?” It’s funny, I never really thought about that question when I was in my 30s or 40s – but sometime around my late 50s I started to think about it. Now I’m wondering why it took me so long. I think that if I had asked that question earlier I would have made some major adjustments in my portfolios when it was easier and when it might have made a bigger difference.
You are probably thinking that I’m speaking primarily about finances – that’s what most people think about when we talk portfolios and legacies. But actually I’ve come to realize that there are many portfolios that make up our legacy – and financial is not the one that makes the biggest difference.
It is my spiritual portfolio that makes the biggest difference in my legacy. It drives all the rest – financial, family and social.
If we look at our legacy as the inheritance we leave to our family, friends, colleagues and business associates then it’s put in the right light. Our legacy not just what we leave behind but what others inherit from it.
The Bible has a lot to say about inheritance – some about property and possessions but a lot about eternal inheritance. When we look at the heart of all of them we see that they are built upon Jesus’ legacy to us. So ours should be built upon God’s foundations – not our own.
If I place a high priority on being a servant to others, then those people I serve inherit my legacy of kindness and helpfulness. Alternatively, if I am selfish with my time, money and devotions then others will inherit my legacy of self-centeredness and narcissism.
And what makes this so important is that what we inherit many times determines how we develop our own legacy. That alone gives us a good reason to prioritize the foundations of what we leave behind.
2016 is not just a milestone for me – it can be one for all of us. You don’t have to be turning 65 to rethink the priorities of your spiritual portfolio. In fact, do yourself, family, friends and business associates a favor – do it now. Start this year with a reassessment of your portfolios that will make up your legacy – one that will have an eternal difference for all who inherit the gifts you have been given according the the only legacy that really matters.