For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
– 2 Timothy 4: 6-8 (ESV)
My wife and I recently visited the Mississippi Delta looking at some land that her grandfather once owned. It was rich, beautiful, yet simple land. It was a wide swath of acreage for planting a variety crops.
My wife’s grandfather, BL Tate, was a great, great man.
He was never well-known outside the tiny town of Brazil, population 30 or so, but to those that lived near him, he was deeply respected, admired and loved. During the depression-era he owned a general store and would, quite often, allow nearby families to have food “on account” knowing they would likely never be able to repay him. Some of the locals told us he literally kept some families alive during those times.
His store was also the train depot for the area and he was the postmaster as well. He donated land to start a local church and cemetery. He was well-known for hobbling to and fro around his small farm and general store – a victim of polio. He didn’t let his disability define him or slow him down. He was a man of action and integrity….he was positive and likable. He’d regularly drive to Memphis to trade animal furs for other goods to sell at his store. He was a real entrepreneur.
He’s died in 1976, but his legacy is still being felt. When visiting the old church and cemetery a local man told us “Mr. Tate was a good, good man. He held this little community together at times.”
Mr. Tate’s life impacted the people God put in his path. His life is a reminder to me that we don’t have to reach millions of people during our time here on earth to be successful. Most of us are certainly not called to be famous….we’re just called to pour into the people right around us….serving, loving and sometime sacrificing for them…sacrificing with something better than even our own love….with the unending love of God pours out through us.
The tracks left by this tractor on his old land are a reminder that each life leaves tracks. His legacy was indelible, powerful and life-giving.
So, what legacy will you leave?
- Will your legacy be that you built a profitable business or were known for collecting cars or some other hobby?
- Will you be known for what you owned or built or the kinds of vacations you went on?
- Will your life be one of service to self or service to others?
Your legacy is the residue of the ideas, beliefs and actions you gave away on earth. The best legacy is that of a family heritage that honors the God of the universe and allows His grace and love to pour onto others. May you be inspired yet today to leave a legacy of love for others that will last forever.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
– Matthew 6:20-21