I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy lately.
When my dad passed away in 2011, I lost the most influential person in my life. He was sacrificial in his love for me and others. His heart was devoted to the Lord, and it was evident to all who knew him. His death marked me in a significant way, and I still struggle with grief 11 years later. But his life marked me in an even greater way, and for that, I’m eternally grateful. As I reflect on legacy, I think about the impact that my dad’s faith had (and still has) on me.
When he passed, I came into possession of two items that he had held dear: a gold cross necklace and a black leather Bible.
These are such beautiful treasures that only represent a small piece of my dad’s great faith. However, they laid the foundation for me to continue carrying the torch of legacy into the future for the sake of those who come after me.
When I think of faith, I picture my dad standing on an old dock, free of any physical or mental handicap, overlooking the wild majesty of the ocean. He’s looking out over the sea, smiling, with the sun streaming down upon his face. His hands are held out high and the wind is blowing the foamy waves onto his sturdy frame. Worship flows out of his mouth from the depths of his soul and fills the salty air. I see a worshiper with a steadfast heart who praises God no matter what. This is legacy.
My dad struggled for much of his adult life with the heavy burden of sickness, but those who met him were compelled to love Jesus more instead of pitying him for his circumstances. Why? He lived like each day was a gift by choosing to rejoice in the Lord always. He blessed instead of cursed even when he didn’t understand. He worshiped when his heart was overwhelmed by bad reports from the doctors. He gave when he didn’t have much to give. He lived what he believed.
Faith. Legacy. Worship. These aren’t just words; they are a commission to each of us who trust in Jesus to model for our children what we believe despite how we feel, what others think, or what we may see.
Faith is visible. It’s a song that carries on even when the singer is no longer here.
When my dad was in the hospital just days before his death, he and I had a conversation I’ll never forget. I was sitting by his side holding his hand while we sat in silence watching some old musical on the TV. He leaned over to me and said these words: “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). I smiled at him through teary eyes, and we exchanged something supernatural at that moment that I can’t explain. A knowing that hope really does rest upon those with faith.
He could have said anything in those last few hours on this earth. But he didn’t quote some self-help guru or a motivational speaker. No, he spoke the Truth. And his faith was evident in that divine moment because he couldn’t keep it to himself. He had to share it with me. What a way to honor the Lord with his life.
Every time I wear his cross necklace, I remember how much his love for the Lord was seen by countless people as he led worship at my church for many years. When I read from the tattered pages of his old Bible, I recall the times I’d see him sitting in his favorite chair by the fireplace reading from it with a cup of coffee in his hand.
In public and in private, he was strong in his faith, and God’s love has blessed my family because of it. I pray that the legacy I leave for the generations after me will be just as impactful as his was on me.
That they would know the joy that comes from living for Christ with hearts that worship Him both in secret and in the midst of congregations. That they would have faith to believe beyond what their eyes can see and carry the torch of legacy into their churches, communities, and families. For God will get the glory through my life’s song as it continues to carry my dad’s melody into all eternity. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.