May 26, 2010

3 tips for Building a Legacy of Wisdom

Written by Boyd Bailey

Just this past week, my mom showed me a newspaper clipping of my family in the Sand Mountain Reporter.  Being from a small town in Alabama, where everybody knows everybody, big family milestones are print worthy (see picture below)! This photo is full of smiles from our family’s celebration of five generations: (R to L) my grandmother Kastell, my mom Anita, me, and my daughter Rachel and her daughter Lily.

Though this picture represents a reason to celebrate it also comes with a sobering reality, what am I doing to build a legacy of wisdom in my life?  What does that look like?  Every believer, no matter age or life stage, should be purposeful in whatever relationships are within their sphere of influence God has given them.

For me—it’s been my role as a father, husband, older brother, son, boss and friend—to look for ways of building a legacy of wisdom.  What are your legacy building roles? Yours may look different than mine, that is the beauty of legacy building, don’t discount the phase of life Lord has you in today. Stay faithful today for a godly legacy tomorrow.

Here are 3 tips I’ve found helpful in building a legacy of wisdom:

1. Begin every morning with a quiet time and prayer

This is foundational to every Christian life and it will make or break your ability to effectively build a wisdom legacy.  A morning devotional can be structured very simply.  I like to choose a book of the Bible and read a chapter each morning and journal reflections and prayers.

For example, it easy to begin with Proverbs as it has 31 chapters, one for each day of the month.  Read the chapter two times, then reflect in your prayer journal:

What verse did God reveal to me in this chapter?

What truth from this scripture can I apply to my life?

Close with a written prayer using the verse and application.

Beginning each day on your knees will revolutionize your relationships.

2. Write an obituary

I know, you probably had to read this twice but I mean it.  It’s a wonderful practice to write out how you want people to remember you, use it as an assessment tool for your existing values and relationships. See how you measure up. I actually do this for my own life and require those I mentor to do the same:

Write the obituary announcement that you would like to see in the paper the day after your death….(of old age and by natural causes). Write it in the third person, like a reporter. Include the following:

Significant professional accomplishments – what would you like for the paper to say that you accomplished in your professional life.

Community accomplishments

Church accomplishments

Family accomplishments

A quote from your spouse

A quote from each of your children (present and/or future “dreamed” of children)

A quote from your best friend

3. Plan to intentionally invest in each relational role in your life

This might seem overwhelming but its quite simple.  A few years back I wrote down every role in my life and jotted down ways to invest in each of these roles. Here is a sample of what I wrote:

Husband – plan a weekly date night with Rita.

Dad – schedule a monthly daddy daughter date with each of my girls.

Son – Call mom on a regular basis

Brother –  Call or visit and/or invite Mitch and Jim for a weekend in our home.

Friend – established a work-out partner, accountability partner, and a time to meet for coffee with a few close friends.

I also crafted a life mission statement to revolve around these roles:

Glorify God by being a faithful husband, an available father, a loyal friend and a loving leader.

Intentionality goes a long way and these tiny wisdom investments compound great rewards for you and the Kingdom over time.

For more reading on building a wisdom legacy, check out these Wisdom Hunters devotionals: Character Is Industrious, Surrounded By Faith, Last Words Living

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