As many of you know, I am a believer in Vision Boards. If you don't have one read this and get started today! Recently, I was fortunate enough to complete one of the items on my board: an extended Italian vacation (and 20 year belated honeymoon) with my wife. The food, churches, art, and architecture were awesome and overwhelming.
At Saint Mark's Basilica, the spirit of the Lord was so strong, I was moved to tears. At Da Vinci’s Last Supper, I was in awe of the scriptural history embodied in the painting. All along my journey there were many significant moments; too many to list here. But in the end, there was a feeling that stuck with me…
I am the undeserving recipient of "legacy thinking".
Many of the churches and buildings I saw took over 100 years to construct. Most of the benefactors, architects, and artisans started a project knowing they would never see its completion. Many of the authors of the bible, never knew their impact. This is in stark contrast to the way we live our lives today. 99% of people have a time-horizon that stops at death or retirement. Their hope is to "just make it".
Escaping from a life that is short-sited and empty is as simple as a change in focus. If we focus on storing up treasures for ourselves, our work will be meaningless and our legacy nonexistent. But if we accept that in our lifetime we may not see the prize and the benefits are not ours to reap, we have a chance to do something amazing.
A legacy mindset allows a man to go to war, an immigrant mother to scale a barbwire fence, and men to start a building they will never see completed. These people are swinging for a fence not defined by retirement or even their death. They have a vision defined by their grandchildren's grandchildren. Knowing that even if they fall short, their work could still impact generations.
Perhaps, in this world of “follow your dreams” and “do what makes you happy”, we need a little legacy thinking. We need people who can see beyond their own mortality; people who can see this life for what it is, a chance to make a lasting impact. It is our chance to improve the lives of the generations that come after us.
We will move on to an eternal reward that was freely given to us. In a sense, our “retirement” is guaranteed. Perhaps it is time we stop optimizing for the sure thing, for our comfort, and start optimizing for the comfort of others and the comfort of our grandchildren. We need to start thinking about our legacy.
Legacy thinking is already transforming the meaning behind the items on my Vision Board. It is why the 17:20 team works tirelessly to bring you inspiring content. We hope our legacy is found in fearless people living a "but of course" life powered by a 17:20 faith.