What Kind of Legacy Would You Like to Leave for Future Generations?

A friend of Southern Adventist University, who anonymously submitted this piece, first encountered this question many years ago. Here is her experience:

At the time our attorney friend asked my husband and I about what kind of legacy we would like to leave, neither of us really had a clue as to what the answer would be, but it did get us thinking. In our narrow view of charitable giving, we knew that we could afford to give a few dollars or even hundreds of dollars. However, considering a legacy gift was a totally different concept. What could we do to help others that would truly make a real difference in their futures? 

Looking back over the lives of my parents, I realized how they had exemplified generosity. Their gifts of time, talent, and money to projects meant a lot to them.  Over the years they donated medical and dental equipment to various mission areas of the Inter American Division. Dad volunteered at a children's hospital doing oral surgery in cleft palate and cleft lip repair.  They gave money to build churches and schools and donated their time to these projects. Dad and Mom were among a group of visionaries who founded an Adventist-sponsored hospital in their city, where one time or another all of our family members worked as well as many of our friends and classmates. These and many other tangible projects left a lasting thumbprint and legacy of what was important to my parents. Remembering their legacy of generosity gave me a clearer vision of what can be accomplished to further the cause of God and how to be a Christian witness in our sphere of influence.     

As we began to age and plan our future legacy gift, my husband and I decided to include Southern Adventist University in our estate plan that would one day fund an endowed scholarship to help young people financially at Southern.  The more we thought about the legacies of our parents and the joys they experienced from their thoughtful generosity, the more determined we were to move forward in faith and fund the scholarship in life rather than wait until our deaths.

It is quite humbling to look back on the last 40 years and to see how the Lord has blessed us financially so that we have the ability to share His blessings with others. We are committed to continuing our parent’s legacy of generosity by following their example.    

It is our prayer that the financial assistance students receive from this endowment in the years to come will be an encouragement to each one who pursues a degree at Southern and that they will catch the vision to "pay it forward" as they prosper in their careers.

We would also like to encourage those who are reading this article to do what they can now and in the future to help our young people get a Christian education. Let them know through personal financial support that their contributions to society are valued and that they have the power to make a difference as Christians in the world today.

What kind of legacy will you leave?