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What a Legacy

Monday marked 57 years since my father died of a heart attack. He was 46; I was seven. I carry some mental snapshots of him, a collection of recollections that I peruse from time to time in the album of my mind. Yet one of Dad’s greatest influences on me throughout the years comes through a certain montage of memories that blend into this abiding impression of the man: Dad valued people and treated them with equal dignity and respect. How could a boy of my tender age possibly understand this? Whether people were paupers or professionals, Dad greeted and engaged them with the same interest and esteem. It showed through the giving of his time, the acceptance in his smile, the warmth of his humor, the lending of an ear, and the approval in his eyes, those blue-tinted windows of his soul. They were the same for all. And children see these things.

Among Solomon’s vast collection of proverbs resides this gem: “Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.”1 God does not base our eternal worth on our temporary wealth, be it great or small, but in that He has made us in His image. The Word is replete with admonitions not to favor the rich over the poor, for “whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”2 Yet God also commands us against bias in either extreme: “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”3 For His ways of good and right are the same for all, and we all are accountable to Him.

God is our maker; we matter to Him. Then because we matter to Him, we honor each other in thought, word and deed. This is what I saw in my father’s regard for people. What a legacy.

Father, You love others as You love me. Grace me to regard people not according to the ways of this world, but to see them and to serve them as Your own. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 Proverbs 22:2
2 Proverbs 14:31
3 Leviticus 19:15