Leaving a LEGACY

The Inner Man
The Inner Man for Students

The legacy of some people consists of great material wealth accumulated over a lifetime, to be divided among their heirs. Others leave very little, perhaps not even enough to pay funeral costs. Whether rich or poor, it is possible for us to leave behind something of great value—the legacy of an exemplary life which will serve as an inspiration to our survivors. Many will succeed in building an estate that their beneficiaries will spend in time, but how much better to strive to leave a spiritual legacy that will live on and on.

  1. In our introduction, the word “legacy” is used. In the natural, a legacy is something bequeathed or handed down to a beneficiary. Such a bequest usually consists of a sum of money or personal property of sentimental value. What does the term "spiritual legacy" mean? How does this differ from a natural legacy?
  2. In Mark 14:3-9, as well as in the other Gospels, we are reminded of the legacy of one woman, Mary. Jesus said that wheresoever the Gospel was preached, she would be remembered for what she had done. In all probability our life stories or the deeds we have done won't be put into print for others to read, but our actions and attitudes will have an effect on the future of others. As you read the account of the anointing of Jesus by Mary, what spiritual attributes do you see in her that we can also possess?
  3. When Jesus died as our atoning Sacrifice, He left something of great value behind—the merits of His Blood shed on Calvary. But even before He died, He had established a legacy. Read 1 Peter 2:21-24 and describe some of the examples Jesus left to us as His legacy of His life here on earth.  Do you believe that with God's help these are reasonable expectations for Christians today? Explain your answer.
  4. It would be good for each of us to stop and think of the other people who may be observing our lives and using us as their pattern in following Christ: a son, daughter, grandchild, brother, sister, or new convert. It should be our desire to live an exemplary life so that anyone could pattern after us, as we do Christ. Reading Titus 2:7-8, in what specific areas does Paul mention that we should show a pattern of good works? Are these the only areas in which we should be this type of example? If not, what might some other areas be?
  5. The pages of Bible history give us many examples of people who loved God. We remember them for a variety of reasons, and all are patterns from which we can learn valuable lessons. Following are some Biblical examples of those who left us a spiritual legacy. Look up the references given and tell who left the legacy, and briefly what that legacy was.
    Genesis 5:22-24  
    Numbers 12:3  
    1 Samuel 17:32  
    Romans 4:3,20-21  
    2 Timothy 4:7-8  
    James 5:11
  6. So far we have been talking about good spiritual legacies. But not all legacies are good. Many people are remembered for the wrongs they have done and the sad results of the bad examples they left behind. While we do not like to spend much time considering these people, it might be good to analyze the dangers of doing wrong from the standpoint of how this affects others. Mention some characters in the Bible who left a harmful legacy behind them.
  7. Among other things, we remember the Apostle Peter as one of the first Apostles chosen by Jesus. He had his time of failure, but he overcame that and lived the balance of his life as a witness for the Lord. After Peter was shown that his time was nearing an end, what was his greatest concern as he wrote the words we read in 2 Peter 1:13-15?
  8. As Christians, we likely have been through many storms and trials and have had considerable experience in combating the enemy of our souls. But as the days go by, we still face specific situations that test our patience, kindness, love, etc. How do you handle these? If you feel as though you have fallen a little short, what can you do to handle it better the next time?
  9. Consider the life you are now living. Then look back over the past forty or fifty years of your life. In comparing them, do you see growth? Have you let the Holy Spirit be a positive force in your life? Have you done your best for Jesus? Can those who are looking for a Christian example find it in you?
  10. In reviewing this lesson, identify one spiritual trait which you think is critical to living an exemplary Christian life as a senior saint today. What was the reason for your choice? Will others remember you for that trait? Is your spiritual legacy in order?


KEY TEXTS: Genesis 5:22-24; Numbers 12:3; 1 Samuel 17:32; Mark 14:3-9; Romans 4:3,20-21; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Titus 2:7-8; James 5:11; 1 Peter 2:21-24; 2 Peter 1:13-15

OTHER SCRIPTURES USED: John 1:12; 14:12; Philippians 3:14; Titus 2:10