Legacies are funny things. Merriam-Webster defines “legacy” as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” Not terribly helpful. By that definition, the fine china set collecting dust in your kitchen cabinet fits the bill. Thanks for that legacy, Great-Grandma Agnes!
The term “legacy” gets a lot of play in the sports world, especially in discussing how great athletes will be remembered after they retire. When a famous NBA player wins a second championship, we say, “He added to his legacy.” When a former NFL star gets arrested, we lament his “tarnished legacy.” In this sense, legacies are quite fickle. Thousands of years from now, will anyone care much about such things? Doubtful.
Some human legacies, however, truly span the centuries. Consider, for a moment, the legacy of Ruth.
When we are first introduced to Ruth, she is a childless, widowed, wandering woman from idolatrous Moab. Forget any country club membership in ancient Israel with that social calling card! Yet when her story ends, she is highly honored in Scripture’s genealogical records. Thanks to God’s sovereignty and the kindness of Naomi (her mother-in-law) and Boaz (her eventual kinsman-redeemer husband), Ruth became not only the great-grandmother of David and his kingly line of Judah (Ruth 4:18–22) but also an earthly forebear of the Lion of Judah—Jesus Christ, God incarnate.
So to recap: God used a childless, widowed, wandering Moabite woman to bring forth Israel’s greatest human king and eventually the King of kings and Lord of lords. Talk about a legacy!
But that’s how legacies are. The greatest often comes from those who seek the Lord in humility. Through Naomi, it seems, Ruth met the one true God of Israel, and her life changed forever. But for a while, life was precarious. She was a stranger in a foreign land, trying to survive. When things looked bleak, someone sacrificially purchased her redemption at a high cost. Through this redemption, Ruth was saved and found a permanent home.
Is this not our story, as well? Things once looked bleak. We were dead in our sins, bowing like the ancient Moabites to false gods—idols of self, pleasure, and worldly riches.
Then Someone intervened on the great threshing floor of our hearts. He planted faith and winnowed away the chaff of pride and disbelief. He purchased our redemption at a great cost, pouring out His blood. Through His sacrifice, the Lion of Judah—Jesus Christ saved us and secured for us an eternal home!
Still, our lives are often precarious. Some days, it’s all we can do just to survive. Yet we know we are citizens of heaven, sojourning on earth only for a short while (Ephesians 2:19–20).
Our great-grandchildren might not become famous, and our genealogy may never be immortalized. But with the time given to us, our lives can still point to the transforming power of our great Redeemer.
That would be quite a legacy indeed.