“Every man and woman must decide in their lifetime what their legacy is to their children and society. Whether it is financial gains or words of wisdom, everyone has something they can leave as a legacy to humanity. It is knowing that we have a responsibility to leave a legacy that is more than half of the battle.”
~ Thomas Scott
A legacy is something handed down or received from an ancestor or predecessor. It is often thought of in the legal sense as money or property willed to someone. However, your legacy does not have to be something material. It is also the contributions that you made to society or the lessons you would have taught in your words and actions; the way that you will be remembered.
This past Sunday, January 15, 2017, my Pastor, Pastor Wilbur Outten, Senior Pastor of Freeport Bible Church, passed away. I can certainly say without fear of contradiction that Pastor Outten has left a great legacy behind. I have been so overwhelmed with emotions over the past few days hearing all of the great things that so many persons are saying about him. He certainly made a positive impact on so many persons not only here on Grand Bahama but The Bahamas at large. He was a humble, soft spoken man who truly cared for his country and the well-being of others. The Honorable Fred Mitchell MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said in a statement he released on Sunday after learning of Pastor Outten’s death:
“I want to express my public thanks to his family both biological and the extended church family for his civic leadership, and the example of fairness and equanimity which he set in Freeport and the wider Grand Bahama Community. Under his leadership, the church engaged in significant outreach to all communities and was a centre for learning, teaching and civic exchange. I deeply appreciate his role in promoting a civil polity. That extended hand was instrumental in explaining our immigration policies and other public policy matters to the wider public. I am deeply appreciative for his help.”
Pastor Outten was a leader par excellence, one who modeled what he taught. His desire was to see everyone reach their full potential and therefore he was a mentor to many. He was a loving and caring gentleman who showed concern for all and therefore he was passionate about his church doing outreach in the community. He was loved by so many.
What would your legacy be? What would you be remembered for once you are gone? Would you be remembered at all once you are gone? Have you ever given any thought to any of those questions? For the majority of you, probably not; most people do not like to think about the fact that one day they will be gone from this earth and therefore they do not think about what legacy they will leave behind. The fact of the matter is though, that we will all die one day and we will all leave a legacy be it a good or bad one. The great thing about it is that we have the opportunity to create the legacy that we will like to leave behind. Lee J. Colan said, “We were meant to give our lives away. Spend more time living your legacy instead of worrying about leaving it.”So what type of legacy would you like to leave behind? Once you would have established that, begin living that legacy.
What legacy are you leaving for those in your sphere of influence? At your funeral service or in conversations of persons reminiscing about you after you are gone, would it simply be said, “He was here and then he was gone” or will people be able to talk about what a positive impact you had on their lives? You do not have to be a prominent, well-known person in society, in order to leave behind a great legacy. Each of us, in our own way, can impact the lives of the people around us.
How would your family remember you? Would your spouse or children have fond memories of you? Would they be able to talk about how loving and supportive you were, or would they say that you were ‘no good,’ one who was never around, one who never cared or contributed to the well-being of the family?
How would your Co-workers remember you? Would they say that it was a joy to have worked with you, that you were a team player or a hard worker, one who others should strive to emulate or would they have memories of you ‘goofing off,’ complaining or gossiping all day?
If you are a Manager, Supervisor, Business Owner or leader in any organization, are you preparing a successor; someone who you are being a mentor to, training to take over from you, thus leaving behind a great legacy?
How would your neighbors, friends and acquaintances remember you? Would they say that you were a friendly, kind hearted person who was always willing to give a helping hand? Would they remember you as one who was concerned about your community and country at large and did your part to try and improve it or would they remember you as one who complained about everything and never volunteered your assistance in any way?
I admonish you to seriously think about these questions and begin living the legacy that you would want to leave behind. How do you want to be remembered? It’s all up to you; you create your legacy. As for me, the responses that I receive on this column always motivate me to continue writing. If I can, in my small way, inspire someone else in life then that would be a part of my legacy.
I would do my best in my small way to continue Pastor Outten’s legacy. He was not just my pastor but he was also a personal mentor to me. Twelve years ago when my family joined Freeport Bible Church, I was at a transitional period in my life having just left my ‘comfortable’ job the year before, to pursue my dreams. Pastor Outten became a mentor to me. I was always inspired by his weekly messages that were always so applicable to whatever I and many others may have been facing. He also called me in to private meetings several times to see how things were going with my business plans and gave me lots of encouragement and advice. As he was also a Corporate Trainer, he allowed me to train ‘under his wings’ by giving me an opportunity to assist him with a workshop that he conducted over a period of a few weeks, for a major company on the island. I learnt sooooooo much from Pastor Outten! I thank God for the opportunity that I had to meet him and grow over these past few years under his ministry. I have so much more that I desire to accomplish and everything that I do will be done with my Spiritual Father in mind, continuing to aim to make him proud and live a life with plans of seeing him again. May his soul rest in peace and his legacy live on.
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Published Thursday, January 19, 2017