We are all going “the way of all the earth” (I Kings 2:2), and as David said to his son Solomon, we need to be concerned with what we leave behind. Have you thought about it? If the world continues, you’re going to eventually leave it in death. What will you leave behind?
Some desire to leave a lot of money. It may be reflective of one’s love for money—whatever it is—your money is going to perish with you (Acts 8:20). It’s just temporal and very illusive. The Bible says the love of it is the root of all kinds of evil (I Tim. 6:10). A first generation, southern industrialist and clothing manufacturer, Warren Sewell said, “The first generation makes it [money], the second generation takes it, and the third generation wastes it.” Solomon of old contemplated this very thing (Ecc. 2:17-19). Is this your desire? To leave behind a lot of money?
Others aspire to a great name. A good name is rather to be chosen (Prov. 22:1). A great name may or may not be a good name. There are notable great names of history who were not good or righteous, but accomplished much by worldly standards. Who can beat the heritage of a righteousness name? A good reputation among the godly is priceless in value and most often honored even by the worldly.
Which would you rather? Be noted for an average life or a full life? Few are remembered very long after they’re gone (Ecc. 2:16), but fewer still are the ones who’ve settled for average. This reminds us that we should strive for excellence, above the average, striving to be the best we can be. This is a daily commitment. What better than to have lived a full life in Christ, and go home to live with Him in Heaven?
How about a life of sinful memories? Jeremiah in lamenting over Jerusalem’s destruction observed: “Our fathers have sinned and are no more, and we bear their iniquities” (Lam. 5:7), a price paid for sin. Wouldn’t it be sad for your children to suffer because of your bad behavior? It happens, and unfortunately has happened too many times. No parent wants this, so every parent ought to diligently seek God by being obedient to His Word. Sinful memories often perpetuate bad behavior and can serve to curse generations. How sad!
What about those who leave behind a destructive life of hurting others? Surely this is not one’s desire? Instead of pleasant memories and good things, would you rather leave behind a life of destruction, harm, and hurt? Some seem to want it, or why would they do as they do and say what they say? The blessing and value of life itself should bring about much better than this. A life in Christ builds up and does not tear down. Jesus paid an awful price that we might have the abundant life (John 10:10).
We’re going the way of all the earth; what will it be for you and for me? What will we leave behind? We do have a choice—choose wisely.
-David Hill, President of Tennessee Bible College