I certainly want to leave a more meaningful legacy than stretched-out, hole-ly (not holy), elastic-less underwear! It occurs to me that men and women think differently about legacies. (Men and women think differently about underwear, too, but that’s for another devotional topic.) In a room of strangers, men usually introduce themselves by reciting their occupation or their associations. Women introduce themselves by establishing their relationships – their children, husband, parents, friends. Women may also share their occupations, but oftentimes they will tell WHO they work with – as opposed to men, who begin comparing the quickest route to said location. In either type of introduction, the individual defines the people, places and things in their lives that have shaped them. A legacy is not only left for those who come after us. It is also shaped by those who have built into us. We see Esau’s legacy described in one chapter of Genesis. No underwear drawer to inspect. Just one chapter to read...
Gen. 36:1-5 – "This is the account of Esau (that is, Edom). Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite—also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath bore Reuel, and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in Canaan." (emphasis added)
- Esau was defined by his wives. No doubt, a marriage relationship in ancient Middle East 2000 BC looked quite different than a marriage relationship in America 2010 AD. However, I believe this remains constant: the unique intimacy of marriage affects a person’s sense of self more deeply than any other adult relationship. Ultimately, my legacy joins with my spouse’s legacy to become a combined statement of a life lived together.
- Esau was defined by his location. My husband and I have three homes. We hold a mortgage on one house; however, we consider three locations to be HOME: 1) where we grew up, 2) where we enjoyed pastoral ministry during our children’s growing-up years, and 3) where we live now. Each of those places changed us, taught us, shaped us into the people we are today, and in each of those locations, we left and will leave a lasting footprint that others will follow.
- Esau was defined by his children and grandchildren. For better or worse, our kids become our calling card to the world, when our voices are long gone. Of course, our children have been ours to mold and shape since their first squalling breath, but have you ever considered the shaping children do in our lives? Whether our own children or those of others, kids teach us things we could never learn from adults. The world through the eyes of a child – or even a teenager – is vastly different than its interpretation by a jaded adult. And if my daughters didn’t keep me updated on pop culture, I’d be even further behind the curve than I already am! God bless my kids (and someday grandkids), who in many ways help define their own legacy.
These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs. The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister. The sons of Shobal…The sons of Zibeon…The children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah. The sons of Dishon…The sons of Ezer…The sons of Dishan …These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir." (emphasis added)
- Esau was defined by his in-laws. When Esau married Canaanite women, he bound himself and his descendants to their pagan culture for all time. Esau married the daughter of a Horite Chief, an important man in the region Esau planned to settle. Esau’s firstborn son, Eliphaz, took a concubine from the royal Horite family (Timna, 36:12,22) and made her son a chief equal among his other sons (Amalek, father of the Amalekites). The family of our spouse brings a kaleidoscope of color to the legacy we will leave – a truth we must recognize and then maximize or minimize as much as possible.
- Esau was defined by history. From conception, Esau competed with his brother, Jacob/Israel. Now, recorded for all time, Esau’s ruling descendants are measured first and foremost according to the timeline of Israelite kings. Though 99.9% of us reading this devotional won’t have our lives written in any sort of historical record, still our legacy will live on. As surely as we have been defined by people and circumstances in our lives, so we, too, will leave a defining footprint on this earth. What will it be?