What's in a Name?
"Hi, Mrs. Casada, hope you are doing well. I wanted to let you know that my wife and I just had our second child and we named him Samuel after your son...."
I got the message Saturday, and have meditated on its significance for the better part of the last several days.
When Sam passed away nearly 11 years ago, many people said wonderful things about him. He was a great kid. I say kid, but he was really all but a man at 17 years old! And the tragedy of someone passing away so young always invites the kindest of words.
But two of his friends said things I marked as particularly significant. His best friend said of Sam that he "loved without filters." The other friend, the one who just named a son after Sam, said, "He was the finest example of a Christian young man I've ever met."
When we die, we can leave behind one of two things: debt or legacy.
Debt might be monetary, but can also be relational -- did you owe someone an apology? an expression of appreciation? Did you continue a generational feud? racism? or disdain for the "less-thans"? A reputation for meanness or selfishness?
Legacy can also be monetary, but unlike debt, which is a curse, legacy leaves behind blessings. Did you bring joy or peace to others? encouragement? enlightenment? hope? Were your relationships in-tact? Was your reputation that of someone who cared? whose values and faith were readily visible and lived-out?
Wise old Solomon wrote,
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs 3:1-4 NIV)
He also wrote, "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." (Ecclesiastes 7:1 NIV)
Sam's friend wrote, "We are determined to raise Sam to live up to his name."
Sam's legacy wasn't money. He tried to live up to another name: CHRISTian. (We often instructed our children tongue-in-cheek, "Remember whose you are! You belong to the Casadas and to God -- Don't embarrass either one of us!") He was by no means perfect, but he tried, and loving "without filters" was the biggest part of that. I pray I can leave so good a legacy as he!
What are you leaving behind? It's not too late to build a legacy!
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