“Sometime later, King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent messengers with greetings and a gift to Hezekiah. He had heard that Hezekiah had been sick and was now well. Hezekiah received the messengers warmly. He took them on a tour of his royal precincts, proudly showing them all his treasures: silver, gold, spices, expensive oils, all his weapons—everything out on display. There was nothing in his house or kingdom that Hezekiah didn’t show them.
Later the prophet Isaiah showed up. He asked Hezekiah, ‘What were these men up to? What did they say? And where did they come from?’
Hezekiah said, ‘They came from a long way off, from Babylon.’
‘And what did they see in your palace?’
‘Everything,’ said Hezekiah. ‘I showed them the works, opened all the doors and impressed them with it all.’
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Now listen to this Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: I have to warn you, the time is coming when everything in this palace, along with everything your ancestors accumulated before you, will be hauled off to Babylon. God says that there will be nothing left. Nothing. And not only your things but your sons. Some of your sons will be taken into exile, ending up as eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’
Hezekiah replied to Isaiah, ‘Good. If God says so, it’s good.’ Within himself he was thinking, ‘But surely nothing bad will happen in my lifetime. I’ll enjoy peace and stability as long as I live’.” Isaiah 39:1-8 (MSG)
Hezekiah became deathly ill, and God gave him a sign that he would live for 15 more years. God’s blessing became an area of pride in Hezekiah’s life. When messengers from Babylon came to visit him, his pride got in the way of reason. He began to show then all of the riches that he had accumulated. He had a false sense of security, and God’s healing became all about him. Through this situation, God was testing his heart. The prophet, Isaiah, came to Hezekiah asking some questions. As a result of Hezekiah’s willingness to proudly show his riches to the foreigners, there would be severe consequences. All of the things that he had shown the visitors would be one day be gone. When Hezekiah heard this news, he simply agreed. In 2 Chronicles 32:31(MSG), it says, “But when the rulers of Babylon sent emissaries to find out about the sign from God that had taken place earlier, God left him on his own to see what he would do; he wanted to test his heart.” Hezekiah had been successful in his life. Yet, when his success was for the benefit of himself, it changed his perspective. When Hezekiah found out that even his own sons would be exiled to Babylon, he didn’t even flinch. He was too worried about impressing people that didn’t even matter. Hezekiah was more worried about preserving his legacy than leaving a legacy for others.
The decisions we make today will outlive the span of our lives. Our decisions about where we work, live, and go to church will impact future generations. In Galatians 6:7b(NIV), it says, “A man reaps what he sows.” Yet, usually, we reap in a different season than we sow. You will reap what you sow, but it might not just be limited to your own life. In order to leave a legacy, we have to live a legacy. When we start thinking about how our decisions will impact our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, it changes our approach. It can give us the motivation and courage to make wise decisions and invest into things that matter.
When we realize that our legacy will outlive us, our temporal decisions bear much more weight and consequence. Whether you are 20 or 85 years old, you are living your legacy. How can we live a life that makes a difference? Whether you are making big or small decisions, lean into the voice of the Lord and ask for wisdom. We have to remember that our life is not just about us. Even the small decisions about whether or not we are going to give to someone in need add up. The small decisions, for good or bad, create habits in our lives. Over the years, those habits become characteristic of our lives. But the good news is as follows. Regardless of the past, you can start living your legacy today. You can change your family tree by asking God to help you to honor Him in your decisions, and you will find that living a legacy will beautifully turn into leaving a legacy.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.