With eternity written in our hearts, human beings have an innate desire to live forever; we struggle with the idea of our non-existence. As such, there is a desire in humanity to want one’s life to matter, to seek purpose beyond our years on earth. Knowing that we will certainly die, many seek to create something beyond themselves that will not die. Human beings feel the need to make a mark on this world – to leave a legacy. In some ways this is the highest plain on which this selfish world can live. For some, leaving a solid legacy is all about what they do. For others, their legacy is sought in children or in the continuation of their surname. Others seek a legacy by dedicating their lives to serve others.
Of course, many men and women in the Bible left profound legacies behind, and Hebrews 11 is filled with examples of those to whom posterity can look to as examples of faithful living. But the question is should a Christian design his or her life for history to remember them in a particular way? The answer according to Hebrews 11 (and all of Scripture) is a resounding no! We find no evidence that the motivating factor of the heroes of our faith was their future reputation or their being on the right side of history. Rather they lived simples lives of obedience to God, by faith. We will see this illustrated in the lives of the patriarchs, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, who, though they knew they were dying, thought about the faith of a future generation who would follow God. Their source of endurance and strength was a higher calling than mere legacy. Rather, they longed for a future home and their God with whom they would dwell forever.