Summary: Overview of David's legacy. We each are building a legacy that we will someday leave behind
David: Leaving a Legacy
I Chronicles 28: 2-6, 29: 1-5
Archeologists often say, “Man is best described by what he leaves behind.” That can be applied to our generation. When the archeologist of tomorrow dig through what we have left behind, it will describe us by trash on the highways, disposable products and throw away relationships. We need to think about what we leave behind.
We all leave a legacy of some kind when we leave this world. A legacy is an inheritance or quality of someone who has died, the memories and contributions people have created in their lifetime. A wealthy man in a small town died and someone asked his lawyer how much money he had left behind. The lawyer wisely said, “All of it.” We often speak of the legacy of an influential or wealthy person who has passed recently. The book of Hebrews describes a man by saying, “he, being dead, yet he speaks” .
We all receive and leave legacies. That may be our skin color, eye color, height and many other physical characteristics. We speak of our individual DNA, but we received that from our parents and pass it on to our children. A legacy can be a negative, positive or passive memorial. One example is provided by the history of two families in colonial America.
Max Juke was a crude backwoodsman, known for his hard living and his weak moral characteristics. His legacy was marked by many children, some of them illegal, most to be ridiculed. It numbered 709 descendants that included 280 paupers, 140 criminals, 60 thieves, 6 murderers, 128 prostitutes with 300 of them dying early in life.
Jonathan Edwards, the famous preacher, left behind 1,394 family members, including 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 13 college presidents, 100 college professors, 62 physicians and 60 authors.
In I Chronicles 28: 2-6, King David began a great legacy, a long shadow of his life. We often see on world news pictures of the “wailing wall” in Jerusalem where people in Israel go to pray. That was the west wall of the temple that David prepared for construction. He first bought its location, a threshing floor he purchased for his own worship service. When he envisioned building the temple while he was still king, he was told “No” by God. He carried too much baggage, specifically his days as a warrior and perhaps his moral failure in marriage. David was instructed by God to prepare for the temple that his preparation.
Our lives are shaped by the legacy of others. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite that was used in war to kill and injure people. In his later years he established the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation to recognize and reward World peace makers. Louis Pasteur invented immunization for rabies. He wanted to test it on himself until a young boy was bitten by a dog. He saved the boy’s life and has continued to make life better for all of us. Sir Nicholson Winton was a stockbroker in Czechoslovakia when Hitler marched through his country, capturing and imprisoning Jewish people. Sir Nicholson used his wealth to save 699 Jewish children, using trains to ship them out of the country. A recent study found that those 699 Jewish children had at least 7000 offspring who have blessed Europe and the world.
George McCuskey raised his family with the practice of spending one hour each day to pray for his family. His two daughters married husbands who were cousins and very close. From those marriages came one son each. One became a faithful pastor and the other son a psychologist. That son, James Dobson, founded “Focus on the Family,” a redemptive ministry in our country.
We are all preparing our legacy. Churches also build and leave legacies. The seven churches recognized in the Book of Revelation may be examples of church legacies.
We all know churches that have a legacy of evangelism and missions, of stability and faithfulness while others are known for their disagreements and moral failures. Of the seven churches in Revelation, only one, the church in Smyrna, was described as “rich, being faithful and gaining the crown of life.” In a small European village a wealthy nobleman built a beautiful church for the people. When it was opened, people admired the beautiful walls and windows, but asked about the absence of any lights. There were only brackets and each family had to bring their own lamp to help provide light for the whole church.
God has given to us His greatest legacy, Jesus Christ. Jesus lived as a peasant, died as a criminal because he died for our sins and left us the legacy of His Holy Spirit. This is a legacy we can leave with our children, our friends, our world. The eternal legacy of Jesus is ours to share..