A Dead Man’s Legacy

Have you ever had those weird thoughts that just won’t leave you alone. Something bugging you but you’re never quite sure what. And then it hits you all at once. Well that’s what happened when I visited the Meriwether Lewis memorial/grave. I was struck by the lack of interest in the 1800’s about his death or murder or suicide. Why didn’t anyone investigate such an important man’s death? Now no one will ever know. Just like some of the graves surrounding his that now read Unknown.

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Have you ever seen those movies where the guy is frozen for a hundred years or so and then wakes up in a different world. I was thinking about what it would be like for someone to wake up two to three thousand years later. But then I found out why there are no movies about that…because the world changes…and history is erased. Not only would that person’s people be forgotten but no one would know the person. I started imagining him digging around searching for his home. For any artifact that could possibly bring back his senses…but everything was gone.

It would be like when the Library of Alexandria burned down. Thousands of years of history was erased, huge chucks of culture forgotten.

“And now they’re forgotten.” “As will we one day.” -The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

And all of that brought me to this question. Why even try?

Legacy: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.

Heritage: the traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation.

Life: the existence of an individual human being

Life only lasts as long as the person living it while a legacy and a heritage lasts generation from generation.

I’m not saying that if you’re a Christian that all of your descendants will be. A heritage outlives it’s creators and is never broken because of a little thing called cause and effect. Whether history is remembered, whether great men are forgotten, their actions effect every generation from that point on.

People talk about going back and changing the outcome of some battle or argument, but what they don’t realize is that as they do that they effect more than just the people involved with the event (depicted in Back to the Future) or the people involved with people in the event (depicted in It’s a Wonderful Life) but the entire world. If people four, five generations down were to replace this article with something else it would still change the world.

You’re three people away from knowing everyone in the world

I don’t remember where I heard this little quote but it struck me as very interesting; realizing that even a little nobody like me, in a small town no one’s heard of, has a huge impact on the future.

My last article addressed the fact that we’re not the only ones in the world. And that everyone we come in contact with is impacting us in one way or another, and that we are impacting them. If you’ve grasped that concept than maybe this one isn’t too hard to understand.

If we’re not there to buy the food the waitress has another couple of minutes to smoke…which later causes her to have surgery…which puts her family in debut…which made her brother not go to collage…which made the world not find a cure for cancer…which killed _____…who would have gone on to become the next president but died…which caused the war to be lost…

Do you get the point? Overkill I know, but overkill makes it easier to see. By the way I’m not suggesting everyone go out and eat at every restaurant.

The point I’m trying to make in the simplest of terms is this:
One day you will die..fact
One day you will be forgotten…fact (because even if Christ comes before that time everyone will be too busy praising him to think of, or remember you…which is a good thing)
And the only thing that will be left of you is dust…until the LORD destroys the earth and then their will be nothing left on the earth of your existence.

So why try?
I watched a YouTube video that made me wonder if everyone really thought that…that they would be the last ones standing. Well even if you don’t believe it you probably live it. If you’re a REALLY organized person you probably have a five to ten year plan. If you’re an average organized person you probably have a one year plan. If you’re only a slightly organized person you probably have a week plan. If you’re a normal person you probably have a morning plan. (like me) Which by the way “every plan fails as soon as it is executed.” Like as soon as my feet his the floor.

But here’s the exciting news…through all the pain and sweat and toil you have something more to fight for. The reason a soldier risks his life, or a honest politician makes a law. The reason someone obeys a speed limit or an orphanage is built. For them. The next generation and the next. Sure they’ll have to fight their fights, cry their tears and we probably won’t be there to wipe them away. But at least we can give them a foot hold.

“What one generation does in moderation the next does in excess.”

That quote is usually used in a bad light. But let’s be the generation that fought hard and wouldn’t give up. That strove to do right. So the next generation will strive harder, fight longer, and will never give up.

The next time you feel the urge to sin, remember. When you’re dead, past, and forgotten the thing that will outlive even you’re dust is you’re actions. Then choose.

How would you like to be remembered? A dead man might be forgotten and the dead erased from history; but a legacy stands forever and a heritage is unbroken.

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