HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
February 5, 2007, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

A lasting legacy

Pastor Philip A. Goeffrion, Albion Evangelical Free Church, Rural Cokato

Engraved on the tombstone of James Dobson, Sr. are two words: “He prayed.”

When asked what epitaph he would like to have on his own stone, Dr. Jim Dobson replied: “When I reach the end of my days, just a moment or two from now, I must look back on something more meaningful than the pursuit of houses and land and machines and stocks and bonds. Nor is fame the lasting benefit. I will consider my earthly existence to have been wasted unless I can recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people, and an earnest attempt to serve God, who made me. Nothing else makes much sense.”

New Year’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, working with people near the end of their earthly existence, and funerals cause me to stop and think: What words will be etched on my tombstone?

What words to summarize my life will be spoken at my funeral service? What kind of legacy will I leave my wife, my children, my church, and those who follow after me? More than money, what am I leaving by way of example, reputation, relationships, and values?

I want to leave this legacy: “He knew God, he loved God, and he shared God.”

I want to know God as he reveals himself through nature, conscience, the Written Word (the Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus Christ).

I want to love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength.

I want to share God with those in my sphere of influence – family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, team mates, and all with whom I come in contact.

How about you? What kind of legacy are you leaving? How will people remember you?

Jonathan Edwards was a famous clergyman and theologian who lived, ministered, and raised a large family in the first half of the 18th century. He and his wife, Sarah, had 11 children, whom they profoundly influenced for the Lord, and this Godly influence lasted for many generations.

A study was done in 1900 which lists some of the accomplishments of the Edwards’ descendants. A. E. Winship noted that the Edwards’ family produced: 13 college presidents, 65 professors, 100 lawyers and a dean of a law school, 30 judges, 66 physicians and a sedan of a medical school, 80 holders of public office, three US senators, three mayors of large cities, three state governors, one controller of the US treasury, and one vice-president of the US.

Isn’t that remarkable? Never underestimate the positive influence of Godly dads and moms, who leave a lasting legacy of knowing God, loving God, and sharing God with others.

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