Friday Sermon: Live to Leave a Legacy

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By Babatunde Jose

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, 

and the time for my departure is near. 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, 

I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:6-7 (NIV)

Only a good and upright man can utter the above Bible verses; a man who had lived a good and honest life; a life worthy of emulation; a life in the service of fellow man; a life untainted by corruption that has eaten into the fabrics of society like a malignant cancer; a man that has not put his offspring to shame, disgrace, public scorn and opprobrium; a man that has kept faith with the ways of God and walked the path of righteousness. A life that is devoid of scandal. These are very tough benchmarks that many cannot pass. What manner of man will engage in acts that would see his name being tarnished daily in the mass media? What legacy will he be leaving for his children? How does he want them to hold their heads among their peers in school and at work? Your father is a thief; your father robbed the nation of X billion dollars; your father collected fictitious ‘subsidy refund; your mother bought 2 bullet proof BMWs; your uncle collected X million from Dasukigate; XYZ number of buildings were seized from your father; your father was remanded in Kuje prison; your father was jailed for ‘contract splitting’; your father buried XYZ millions in the septic tank; and many other shameful stories that are not pleasant to the ear. And the man wants his children to still call him daddy, uncle, Baba and all that. What legacy are we leaving behind? This is a question which the current events in this country is asking of us.

In the Holy Quran more emphasis has been laid on virtue and righteousness than on any other commandment. The reason for this is that righteousness bestows the strength to resist all vice and urges progress towards all good. Righteousness is in all circumstances a charm that guarantees security and is a citadel for safeguarding against all sin. A righteous person can avoid many vain and harmful contentions that often lead other people to ruin.

Verily, Allah is with those who are righteous and those who do good. (Quran 16:129)

How do you want others to remember you? People tend to forget that when you die, God won’t ask you the square footage of your house, but how many people you welcomed into your home; He won’t ask you how many clothes you had in your closet but how many people you clothed; He won’t ask about your salary but whether you compromised your character to obtain it; He won’t ask about the neighborhood you lived in but how you treated your neighbors; But most importantly, God would judge you by your righteousness.

Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” What we find today is that most people are leaving a legacy of shame to their children; Forgetting that a ‘good name is worth more than gold and silver’. The new economy we are living in brings enormous benefits in terms of wealth… innovation… new chances and choices. But our absorption in keeping up with it all is leading to the erosion of our families, the fragmenting of our communities, and the challenge of keeping our own integrity intact. We are in danger of losing the crucial distinction between ‘making a living and making a life.’” The temptations out there are too much for the fickle mind. They succumb easily to the lucre of ‘making it on the fast lane’.

What we are experiencing is a crisis in generational legacies. Late lMartin Luther, when asked what he would do if he knew he were going to die tomorrow, replied simply, “I’d go out and plant a tree.” He would, in other words, leave behind him a legacy of life that would grow on and on into the future. The thrust of this message is this – Don’t Live to Be a Legend, Live to Leave a Legacy.

There is a difference between your reputation and your legacy.

• Your reputation is who you are supposed to be; your legacy is who you are.

• Your reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; your legacy is what you leave behind when you go.

• A reputation is made in a moment; a legacy is built in a lifetime.

• A single newspaper report or careless gossip can give you your reputation; but a life of toil gives you your legacy.

• Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; Legacy is what your children will live with for the rest of their lives.

We ask again, have you “Fought the Good Fight”; Finished the Race”; “Kept the Faith”?

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend.

Eid Mubarak!

 

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