Leaving A Lasting Legacy
Guest Writer: Rev. Priscilla Williams, PhD
I have spent much time in personal introspection of my life’s journey, and how God has strategically placed me where I am today. At this season of my journey I am looking at the legacy which was given to me, and what I hope to leave behind for all I am blessed to meet along the way.
When thinking about a legacy, one’s mind may initially be turned toward the leaving of great wealth, or perhaps the passing along of an inheritance of great notoriety. These in and of themselves are wonderful, yet they are not lasting contributions which impact and influence those we meet along life’s journey.
As a child, our mother married a man whom at the time had no children. He was a man whose heart belonged to the Lord. And, he was devoted to his family. I remember vividly the day that my older sister and I had been taken to the courthouse. We were led into a judge’s chambers. Although I was probably 6-years old at the time, the events of that day are forever etched into my memory. The voice of “the man in the robe” behind the desk seemed to echo the question of whether we wanted to be adopted. Terrified, and not really understanding the fullness of this decision, our answer in unison was “yes”. Yet, all the while, God had a plan for our lives. It would not be until years later that I would see just how amazingly strategic God had been all along. Our steps had been reordered and we were in His perfect will.
Our father worked hard. He didn’t amass financial wealth here on earth, however he deposited seeds that are still yielding great harvests long after his passing. You see, while other children in our neighborhood were busy playing outside, we were given the weekly tasks of learning our Bible lessons thoroughly, and committing to memory the Bible scriptures. Although it seemed harsh and fanatical, what I now understand is that our father was teaching us to have a disciplined lifestyle, not just for the Word, but in everything we do. The rigorous weekly studies were never compromised. Our father would say, “even if no one else knows their lessons, you will.” As I grew, my father had placed us in all things related to the church. I became the church secretary at a very young age because my father saw in me the gifting of administration. He also saw a need for me to join him as his assistant teacher of Sunday school classes. Under his tutelage, I learned what it meant to really teach the Bible to young children. I remember my father’s teaching and how intense he was. He gave tests and assignments, which were all graded. He even had an open house for parents to come and see our progress. I probably still have one of my report cards to this day. I remember his passionate teaching on “giving” in Sunday school so that we would learn to be givers to into God’s house. Yet, what is most important are the lifelong lessons, the building of my faith, and the personal teaching of how to pray, how to stand on the Word, and to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.
Once, when faced with a situation of being lied on, we watched our father stand on the Word of God without wavering one bit. I am sure he was fearful inside, however his strength of character in the wake of this ordeal held like a mighty fortress. What comes to mind now is the old hymnal “What a Mighty Fortress is our God.” Remembering his faith in action today is monumental because its effect still inspires me and moves me to know that truth will prevail and that God never fails. Yes, that sense of unwavering faith has been imparted to me. His example, a modeling not just of “good” parenting, but of life lessons that keep me grounded when the challenges of life come in like a flood. I saw the hand of God move on his behalf, but I also saw a man that would not be moved from his faith. He walked daily with God, and the two enjoyed a lifelong relationship together through his life…what a legacy.
In closing, no matter where we come from, or how “badly” we think things are going for us, God does not make mistakes. There are no coincidences or accidents, only divine appointments and assignments. I am grateful to God for the “course correction” and delivering me into the care of a loving earthly father who gave to me an introduction to and relationship with my Heavenly Father. It is not surprising that I followed my calling into ministry, and received a blessing from my father just before his passing. At dad’s funeral, the words which I shared that are most poignant even today are, “It doesn’t matter if you are born into, adopted into, or just accepted into a family, you are right where God has strategically placed you.”
Life Lesson: Life is fragile and fleeting. Without purpose…it is empty. Be an example of God’s hands in the earth and commit to leaving a lasting legacy with each person whom you have been divinely connected. God’s peace be with you.