Nancy Reagan will be buried this afternoon beside her husband, President Ronald Reagan. I plan to watch the funeral; I’m interested in presidential history, and, I must admit, that growing up in the 80s has caused me to have a special fondness for the Reagans.
I’m writing this before the funeral, but I’m sure much will be said about Nancy Reagan’s legacy. We’ll hear, I’m sure, about lives she saved through her “Just Say No” campaign. Perhaps she’ll be remembered for her courage in the face of her struggle with breast cancer. She’ll be praised no doubt for her efforts to broaden stem cell research (I, although suffering from a genetic illness, cannot condone the use of embryonic stem cells in the search for a cure – It’s simply not right to kill human life to find a cure for illness). Her steadfast devotion to President Reagan will surely be mentioned: Her support in the aftermath of the assassination attempt, her steadfastness as the President stared down Communism, her loving gaze as he spoke to the nation, and her courage and grace during his long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
With all due respect to Mrs. Reagan, much of her legacy will not last into eternity. Her “Just Say No” campaign probably did help some stay clean or get clean from the effects of drugs and alcohol; some of those surely came to Christ. Her battle with breast cancer won’t stand – no matter how many mammograms she encouraged and lives may have been saved, all of those women will stand before God’s throne. There will likely be souls in heaven of embryos – aka human beings – killed because of her calls for stem cell research. The opening of the doors of the former Soviet Union allowed missionaries to carry the precious name of Jesus into former atheistic nations. Yes, her devotion to her husband is commendable, but, honestly, her marriage to President Reagan doesn’t seem to fit the Matthew 19 test.
But, as I think of Nancy Reagan’s legacy, I can’t help but think of my own. I don’t want a legacy of making this world a better place; I want a legacy that will last throughout all eternity. Here’s the legacy I wish to leave:
- A legacy of faith.My health struggles have presented a multitude of challenges I’ve discussed on my blog: pain, financial restraints, frustration at my deteriorating walking ability, giving up full-time ministry, and many others. I want people to see me face those struggles, not simply with determination, but with a firm reliance on God. I want my faith to shine through even on the darkest day.
- A legacy of souls.I want to lead people to Jesus. I want to see people taught and baptized for the remission of their sins and to watch them mature and grow in the faith. I’ve been honored to teach many the Gospel and I’ve seen people respond in faith. I pray that I can play at least a small role in enlarging the population of heaven.
- A legacy of children.I have two precious sons whom I so desperately want to lead to heaven. What better legacy can a father leave?
- A legacy of marriage.I love my wife. I wish to love her as Jesus loves His church. I wish to lead her to heaven.
- A legacy of salt and light.I wish to be the salt of the earth and the light on the hill. I want others to see Jesus in me. I wish to point those whom I encounter to the heavenly Father.
- A legacy of obedience.Obedience to the Word of God is so very important; only those who do the will of God will enter heaven and obedience is the way that we demonstrate our love for Jesus. I want people to see in me a determination to do the will of God, nothing more and nothing less.
That’s the legacy I wish to leave – not a legacy of making this world a better place, but a legacy of changing the population of heaven. What legacy do you wish to leave?