Stephen Mansfield: Men on Fire Devotional Day 6
“The Fire of Legacy”
Scripture reading: 2 Kings 20:16-19
When we talk about legacy, we’re usually thinking about it in financial terms. As far as that goes, there’s nothing wrong with it. Leave wealth to your descendants if you can. Leave at least an insurance policy. Most every man can do this much. Yet it is what we leave of ourselves in the lives of those who follow us that is the true legacy. Men are incomplete without this fire burning within them.
Many of the achievements of great men and great eras of men were fueled by a desire to protect the next generation and set it on its course. There were inventors who said they did what they did to remove a blight from the lives of their children’s children. War heroes said that what was in their minds as they did their heroic deeds was keeping their children free. Mighty social reformers were thinking largely of people still unborn when they combated poverty or attacked ignorance or worked for civil rights. The World War II generation in Britain arose magnificently largely to keep future generations from having to be Nazis. Pilgrims sailed to a new world and pioneers tamed frontiers and settlers harnessed the wilderness almost always with those who would follow them in mind.
This is what men do. This is how men think when they are at their best. This is one of the motivating forces that is meant to burn in a man’s soul and make him greater than he would be if only serving himself. It is a duty and something of a burden, yes, but it is also part of what makes a man a true man and what unleashes powerful forces in his soul.
This is the key. We stop thinking about our lives as being our own. We start believing that our lives, in part, belong to those still to come. We build a generational plan into all we do, from how we run our businesses to how we father, from how we set an example by how we live to how we design our wills. We understand that our lives upon our deaths will not be deemed righteous by God and humanity without the good of the next generation being assured as far as we can.
In short, we have to redefine what it means to be men. A man doesn’t conquer and build for himself. He doesn’t use everyone in his life for his own selfish purposes. He doesn’t seek peace and safety in his lifetime and scoff at whatever comes to those after him, as King Hezekiah did (2 Kings 20:19). He has to believe that his life is measured in part by how he impacts the next generation. This is the will of God. This is the call on his life. This is the plea of his children. This is the definition of what it means to be a man.
Ask God to help you answer some very specific questions about the legacy you can leave in others’ lives. For example, what imprint does your daughter need from your life? What impartation does your son need? How can the men around you feed from your life in such a way that it makes them better men? What of the higher values—nobility, honor, service, sacrifice, faith, courage, leadership—do you have that you can plant in the soil of the next generation?