In the Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (11th Ed), (1) a legacy is a gift of personal money or personal property, (2) something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor.
What a dry way to kill a legacy.
Abraham had plenty of personal property and wealth. He was successful from a material point of view. As we say today, though, you can’t take it with you. Stuff can only be given to or taken by others. Abraham was old and was looking at who would get his stuff. As he had no children, It was going to be a servant. While we often overlook this brief mention of Eliezer, this is a good example of someone preparing for the future without him in it. The small business owner that is a wise steward, will make preparations for the company after they are gone, especially for their employees and family members who are dependent upon the business. Abraham was looking out for his people and their families.
God then makes a promise to Abraham that Abraham will have a son to inherit Abraham’s wealth. Well, that’s the way Abraham took it. Then God took it up a notch and said that Abraham’s descendants would number like the stars in the sky. Then God said that there was this huge swath of land that Abraham’s descendants would get, too. While the wealth, property, and land were all good, it was Abraham’s faith (counted as righteousness) that was the true legacy. Faith was the true inheritance.
Through the wealth, property, and land, Abraham and his descendants prospered, fell into ruin, returned, prospered, fell, returned…and so on. Throughout it all, Abraham’s faith is what made it through all of it. Abraham’s faith was the legacy that he passed on, that he didn’t even ask for.
Generations later, an infant boy was born in the City of David. This infant boy had 2 parents who were out of their element (so to speak) before he was born. These 2 parents were inheritors of Abraham’s legacy, and they experienced its fulfillment in a way unimaginable at that point.
In his letter, Paul tells the Galatians (non-Jewish people, like most of us) that they (thus, us) are also inheritors to this legacy of Abraham. To play off of Paul’s words, the original inheritance that Abraham was concerned for was in regards to stuff, land, and the family “name”. This is more along the lines of the child (or slave) who is in bondage to their immediate gratification (the stuff). The true inheritance is one of faith and relationship with God, the Father, that we receive through the gift of the Son, Jesus Christ. It is through the power and working of the Holy Spirit that we are transformed from child (bound by the world) to inheritor (free in faith).
- Elsewhere, Paul writes about childish things. What are some “childish” things that preoccupy your mind, heart, and soul?
- The “world” is often concerned about the stuff, and we, too, may fall into that trap. It is good stewardship (according to Scripture) to have an inheritance for your grandchildren. What kind of inheritance do you want to leave?
- What is the difference, if any, between inheritance and legacy?
KD) What is one thing that you want people to remember about you?