By Cal Jernigan
It really is one of the saddest statements in the Bible. What it says should never be said of anyone. What makes it even worse is that once it’s established it is permanent. It will never change. I hope and pray it doesn’t happen to me. I hope and pray it never happens to you.
Before I show you the statement, let me give you the setting. It’s found in a verse that involved one of the kings of Judah, a man by the name of Jehoram. To understand Jehoram, you have to know a little about his family.
Jehoram’s dad was also once the king of Judah, a man named Jehoshaphat. He was a good man who did many good things. Mostly, Jehoshaphat trusted and depended on God, and to this day we still tell stories about his courage and his laser clear focus. He was a good man indeed. Jehoram’s son, however, was not. His name was Azariah. He was the exact opposite of his grandfather, Jehoshaphat. Also a king, Azariah was neither a good man nor a good king. He aligned himself with the wicked king of Israel–a man named Ahab. Ahab and his wife Jezebel were notoriously evil. Azariah wanted to be accepted by them. Jehoram’s son was a bad man wanting to be accepted by bad people. We can maybe feel a little for Azariah as he never had much of a role model. But this isn’t true of his dad.
So what was so bad about Jehoram, the man in the middle of these three generations? Just read the following verse and let its truth soak in. It is found in 2 Chronicles 21:20:
“Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.”
He died to no one’s regret? No one’s? Not one person regretted his dying? No regrets anywhere? From anyone? Not to his wife’s regret? Not to the regret of any of his kids? He had no friends who were saddened by his passing? None? Did they really bury this King of Judah in a place of disgrace because no one cared to show him any honor in his death?
What does a person have to do to live such a life and end it so ingloriously? How bad do you have to be?
The legacy of Jehoram is simply dismal. Here’s the deal: every life has a story and every life both builds and leaves a legacy. Your legacy is what you pass on to the generations that come after you. Your legacy is what your life contributed to the good of others, or to the ill of others. Azariah was much of Jehoram’s legacy.
Here’s something you can count on– After you die, your name will come up in someone’s conversation. You will be talked about. You will be remembered and your life will be recalled. The big question, though, is what will people think about when you come to their minds?
Your legacy is much more than just your reputation; it’s your reality. Your legacy is the summation of the days of your life. Your legacy becomes what you really were.
When, then, should you give thought to your legacy? Wisdom would suggest that you think it through long before you die. Long before. Since knowing when our lives will end is not something that we can easily know, I suggest then the best time to think about is now. Right now. Immediately. No… even sooner than that.
Today you can change your legacy by deciding to invest your life in the welfare of others. To choose to makes someone’s life a little better right now. To do something intentionally to make someone else’s life better. This is what Jehoram never did. He never thought much about others. He died to no one’s regret because he lived to no one’s benefit.
Who will benefit from your life… today?