The Point of Purpose & Legacy

DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

A Guest Blog Post from Eva Marie Everson – Eva Marie Everson

Recently, my husband and I took a trip to the beach . . . a three-day getaway forty-five minutes from home. We needed time to breathe. To not worry about laundry and cooking and work and life. We wanted to walk the beach as often as we could, watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, sit on our 7th floor balcony and . . . be.

At one point, we took a shoreline stroll and, because we had both grown quiet, I asked my sweet hubby of 42 years, “What are you thinking about? Right now? This second.”

“My purpose,” he said.

“Your purpose?” I asked, somewhat surprised.

“I’m 71 this year,” he said, “And I’m not sure what my purpose in life has been.”

I grinned at him and said, “Your purpose has been to take care of me.” After a moment of eye-rolling (him, not me) I added, “You do know that this is what my novel Dust is about, right?”

Well, no . . . he didn’t (mainly because he has only read two books in his life: Black Beauty and one of my books Unconditional). But I digress.

During that same trip, while getting ready for our final day, I tuned my phone to That day, Sally Burke (Moms in Prayer International), spoke on legacy. Again, I smiled. Purpose and legacy go hand in hand. My smile grew broader and brighter as Mrs. Burke shared the story of herself as a mother (“I wasn’t always perfect,” she said.) and the results on her children. Her son, she remarked, was part of a ministry while a daughter was a wife and mother. Both, she stressed, are living out their legacy.

Dust explores exactly this. In this epic novel, readers listen as Allison Middleton Houser tells the story of her life—of growing up with her beautiful but distant sister Julie in the 1960s, of meeting and marrying the intelligent, devil-may-care Westley Houser, and of raising their daughter Michelle. On the surface, the story may appear the tale of an ordinary life in an ordinary town. But it is far from that.

As Dust clearly expresses, we all have purpose, and we will all leave a legacy. We may not be cognizant of it. In our hearts and minds, we may feel as if we have only lived out our days accordingly. But I believe that, especially when we put our lives in God’s hands, it simply doesn’t work that way. Allow me to give you an example. Let’s say little Joey Parker grows up in Small Town America, a typical little boy to his time. His grandfather—his favorite person on the planet—is the country doctor who rarely charges his patients what they owe but will, instead, take a chicken or a mess of peas, a sack of potatoes as payment. Every Sunday morning, Little Joey sits in the family pew of the church with his parents and his grandparents. And, as Little Joey grows up to become teenaged Joe, he decides he wants to follow in his grandad’s footprints. After college and medical school, Dr. Joseph Parker is offered a prestigious job in a city hospital made famous by its medical know-how. But Joseph’s grandfather is slowing down and, without him, their little community—the town and people Joseph loves—will not have medical help close at hand. After praying, Joseph decides to give up the obvious choice to go with the choice of his heart. He doesn’t accept chickens and peas and potatoes like his grandfather did, but he never turns away the sick.

This doesn’t sound like much of a purpose or legacy to some, until you hear that one snowy winter’s evening, Joseph—now a grandfather himself—is on his way home at the end of a long day when he comes upon a car accident. Inside the auto is an unconscious teenage girl he doesn’t recognize. Joseph immediately calls for an ambulance, which will take over a half hour to arrive. In the interim, Joseph keeps the young woman alive. This young woman—even though she is in critical condition—will go on to survive and, in her lifetime, will achieve greatness in the field of cancer research and cure. Years later, after being awarded for her work, she tells the story of the country doctor who kept her alive after a single-car accident that could have easily taken her life. But because she lived, others who would have succumbed to cancer survive it.

In this story, it’s easy to see that while she achieved greatness, had it not been for Joseph, she would not have lived to full adulthood, much less medical achievement. But, really, the point of purpose and legacy goes all the way back to Joseph’s grandfather.

Too often we fall into the “what is my purpose” and “what legacy will I leave behind” cycle. While I believe it is important to desire both—and to do all things accordingly—I also believe that we must put our focus more on the One who created us and listen to His voice, even as we go about our daily business. Yes, including the mundane and humdrum, doing those things we think matters so little.

Although some will, I believe that most of us will not know this side of heaven what mark we have left behind. And that’s okay. Because God knows.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson is a multiple award-winning, bestselling author of both fiction & nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the managing editor of Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of Iron Stream Media. Eva Marie has served as the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference since 2013. She and her husband make their home in Central Florida.

Thank you, Eva!