My legacy is formed by my values. Generosity, for example, is a core value in my life. I want to be remembered as someone who gives with a generous heart. When I am gone, I want people to say, “he gave.” I also believe that if you really think about it, generosity is important to you as well. No one wants to be remembered as someone who was selfish. We don’t want to look back on our lives and realize that we lived with our fists clenched so tightly on money or possessions that we missed opportunities to bless others. Generosity isn’t an inherent trait for many of us, but it is something that can be cultivated. We can all be givers. [bctt tweet="My legacy is formed by my values." username="dukematlock"] About ten years ago, I started asking everyone in my life–family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers I would meet at restaurants and coffee shops–a question: What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone? The question was always met with surprise. Sometimes people were confused; they quite often asked for clarification. So I would ask again, “When your life is over and you are no longer here, what do you want people to say about you? Who do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered?” Most people would take a minute to think it over and then respond with roles they were hoping to fill. They wanted to be mothers, pastors, good friends, or husbands. But I wasn’t looking for roles they wanted to fill; I was asking about the legacy they were aiming to leave. Once I clarified that, the answers came quickly. They wanted to be hopeful; they wanted to be strong and courageous. Some wanted to be remembered as people who loved fearlessly and led with boldness. The answers were all over the place, but one thing was consistent–they all wanted to leave a powerful legacy. In 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence; nothing more, nothing less.” As you lead, your values are instilled in those around you. Legacies are formed by passing on your values to those you lead. Your church, family, and community will begin to adopt the things that are the most important to you. We all have a responsibility to teach those entrusted to our care the power of giving. The Generosity Gene is one that we can instill in our own lives and in the lives of those around us, but we have to be intentional. Generosity doesn’t come naturally for many of us; it goes against our most basic human instincts to give freely. But when we understand that we are created in the image of a generous God, it gets a little bit easier. [bctt tweet="Legacies are formed by passing on your values to those you lead." username="dukematlock"] Your life’s work needs the support and participation of generous people. In the new year, we will spend some time learning how to cultivate the Generosity Gene in our relationships, personal lives, and ministries. I believe that God wants to do something new in 2018. Generosity opens the door to new opportunities and immeasurable blessings. Whatever legacy you are hoping to leave, you need to be living out those values today. Let’s cultivate the value of generosity by giving freely today. [bctt tweet="Generosity opens the door to new opportunities and immeasurable blessings." username="dukematlock"]
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