I must be getting older (notice I don’t say “old,” just “older). That might explain why my thoughts often turn to future generations and what, if any, legacy they will receive from me. I have thought about leaving money, property, writings, music, or pictures to my children and grandchildren. But, really, what will each of these things profit them in the long run? Don’t get me wrong…they are all great things to leave. Still, I want to leave some that will really make a difference in the lives of my descendants…for generations. After a great deal of thought, I know what I want to leave as a legacy. I have figured out what can impact my family for generations to come, making life better for each person. It even has the potential to grow stronger and add greater good over the generations. Want to know what this precious commodity is? Honor!
That’s right, leaving a legacy of honor can change a family for the better…and, it can grow stronger over the generations. Honoring family members liberates them to live out the potential God has given them. It changes them for the better. In other words, when you treat family members with honor and respect, you help them become better people. I recall the story of the “14-cow woman” to elaborate on how honor makes us better people. Apparently, a native from one island paid a “14-cow” dowry for an ugly, clumsy, lazy woman. The people of her tribe gladly accepted such a high price and laughed at the man for getting “ripped off.” A missionary, upon hearing this story, traveled to the neighboring island to find out why a man would pay so much for an unworthy woman. When he arrived, he met with the man and several beautiful women. One woman stood out for her beauty, poise, and grace.
Finally, the missionary asked the man, “Why did you pay 14 cows for a woman from another island when you have so many lovely, gracious women to choose from on this island?”
The man smiled as he pointed at the most beautiful, poised, and gracious of the women present. “She is the 14-cow woman of whom you speak.” The missionary was stunned. Seeing the confusion on the missionary’s face, the man continued. “The people of her island did not honor her, so she did not honor herself. She lived to their level of dishonor. I honored her. I willingly gave a high price for her and, in so doing, showed her great honor. With such honor bestowed upon her, her view of herself began to change. She began to value herself as I value her. She cared more for herself; and, as she continued to live in light of the honor received, she changed. She became more caring, more generous, more confident…more willing to love the one who continues to show her honor. You must know that as we receive honor, we grow into our greatest potential. And, when we honor those around us, they reach their greatest potential and beauty…both inside and out.”
Begin preparing your legacy of honor by honoring your family members today. As you give great honor, your family will grow to live a life worthy of great honor. They will learn to pass honor on to the next generation and each generation will grow more gracious and loving. The honor shown during my short life will continue to grow as it rolls down the generations of family members who have received and continue to practice honor in their lives…that is the legacy I want to leave.
PS-Guys, do not call your wife or daughters a “beloved 14-cow woman.” Surprisingly, she won’t find that term of endearment honoring… believe me.