If you could leave but one thing behind you what would it be? Wealth and property? Family heirlooms? For me those don’t even enter the running. Not only because I have few such things to leave. But because I hope, above all, to leave a lasting legacy.
Leaving a legacy
I may not be remembered for any mighty deeds or great wisdom. But I hope to be remembered as one who, while not perfect, owned up to her mistakes and failings and tried to overcome them. One who put others first and loved them more than money, things, or success, and who gave what she could.
And though I fall far short of this glorious goal, with the Lord’s help I work daily on overcoming my failings. And on becoming just a bit more like the wise woman in the following story. Like the Wise Woman with a Stone.
The Wise Woman with a Stone
“A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.
The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.
But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what is within you that enabled you to give me the stone.” – Author Unknown
We are not really told much about the woman in this parable. But had she been real, surely hers was a simple life, her possessions few. A simple mountain cabin, her two feet to take her everywhere. A bit of food, a few clothes.
Then one day she found it. That precious stone, glistening in the sun. She knew its worth but didn’t care about that – for she already possessed all that she needed.
Security? It was hers, in as much as it can belong to anyone. The truly wise know that security is a fleeting thing. One event and like the snap of the fingers, it’s gone. No, she had all that she needed for today, and that was all she could be sure of.
That precious stone meant nothing to her, because she was already rich. Not because of the stone. That made her no richer. But it was a pretty stone, so she kept it. Just to look at and enjoy.
The legacy of true wealth
She already possessed the most precious riches: the wealth of true contentment and generosity.
The greatest wealth of all are the gifts of true contentment and the willingness to give with abundant generosity.Tweet
Which enabled her to give generously and without hesitation. She knew that the ability to give renders us truly rich. And that only in giving do the things of greater value become ours forever. This is the legacy I’d like to leave behind me. The legacy that true wealth lies in contentment and generosity.
What I spent is gone; what I kept is lost; what I gave away will be mine forever.Ethel Percy Andrus