If you have read a number of my blogs, you have probably seen a theme. As fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, our time on this earth should be devoted to leaving a Family Legacy that matters. But what is a Legacy?
It’s what you leave behind after you are gone.
That could be money and resources. But it is also the image of you and your spouse and how you treated and loved each other. It is what you teach your children about God and Jesus and what it means to be mature in relationships, wise with your finances, and how to be spiritual. It also means how you manage your money as a Steward of God’s resources. The following story and practical examples for implementation with your own family gives you a starting point to influencing your them and their convictions about what your and their legacy is meant to be.
What is the greatest Legacy that you could give to those who are left after you die?
A group of twelve youth and adults traveled to Juarez, Mexico to build a home for a needy, poor, desperate family.
The husband of this family worked sixty hours a week to earn $30. Granted $30 goes much further in Mexico than in the U.S. but it was still a meager sum. Their current home was a tiny, one-room shanty constructed out of shipping skids and wrapped in tar paper. To make matters worse, their three-year-old daughter was an invalid and had major respiratory problems. She was forced to stay indoors because of her problems with breathing and the dust outside.
The campsite where the missionary group pitched tents was an old cow pasture located across the road from a pigpen. There were no hotels or hostiles. The restrooms were pit toilets where it seemed half the flies in all of Mexico resided…no blow dryers. If the flies did not drive you out, the smell would. The other half of the flies in Mexico swarmed over their food as they tried to eat. They slept on the ground, and from about 2 am on they were serenaded by a chorus of roosters making sleep impossible. They cleaned up each day by pouring a bucket of water over their heads. To say the least, this volunteer church group had bitten off a huge morsel of sacrifice.
In spite of all of this, the group seized the challenge of building this humble house for this needy family with unity, zeal, and joy. As they raised the walls of the house, the mother stood crying. They all cried with her…but continued their job.
The house was built that week and the family, for the first time in their lives, had a real home and a blessing that could only come from those willing to give selflessly of their lives.
I cannot begin to tell you what impact it had on the small group of children and adults who took time out of their lives to make a difference in the lives of one poor family. Their lives were forever changed.
How can you have that same impact on your family?
1. Invite your children to participate in your giving. This could mean that you have them designate charities for some of the money that you give each year, or they help make decisions with you or that you set up a charitable plan at your annual family meeting, and they are part of the discussion. Use creativity and you will gain their buy into giving.
2. Visit one of the local charities as a family. This is easy if all the children live in the same town. If not, you may want to do it around a holiday that all may be present.
3. Set up an annual mission trip for the entire family. This may be the most expensive, but clearly the most meaningful and powerful. I have yet to meet a family member that has been on a mission trip and wasn’t changed forever.
4. Have a charity visit your annual family meeting. This can be a powerful way of showing the children the heart of a ministry. They can bring some of those affected positively by the ministry to share their stories.
Whatever you do, it is all about others and selfless serving. Jesus did not mince words, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 (NIV). This truth will be ingrained in the hearts of your children when you share it together.
What is the greatest gift you have to give? Yourself! Leaving a legacy of giving can impact your family far more than anything else you could possibly pass on.
Download this free ebook that will help you understand what’s possible once you discover how to become a better steward by eliminating taxes by focusing on Kingdom causes that will enable you to build an enduring family legacy.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring
about significant impact for His Kingdom.