I’ve been missing my dad a lot lately. It happens to me every year around March – March Madness, that is.
My Dad loved basketball. He was a basketball coach and an expert at the sport. The NCAA tournament was a big deal for him. He took it seriously and had serious fun with it every year.
Even before the brackets were released, he was busy predicting which teams would make it, and once the selections were out, he spent hours crafting several brackets based on differing criteria. I think my older son still makes one bracket with the title “Grandpa” on the top, using Dad’s special method of rating each team.
Basketball was an important part of my dad’s life, but it wasn’t the most important part of his life. A basketball game never brought tears to his eyes. He didn’t get choked up over a hard-fought win or a tough loss. And a stellar bracket didn’t move him.
A True Legacy
There was one thing that truly moved my dad. The thing that would often make him tear up was when he would talk about how someone he had taught or coached as a young student was walking with the Lord. That mattered more to him than his winning seasons or impressive records.
I remember standing in the church parking lot one Sunday, listening to him talk about speaking at a church camp years before I was even born. I watched him fight to gain his composure enough to finish telling me the story. He couldn’t hold back the tears as he told me how a young man had said he’d given his life to the Lord after hearing Dad speak. All those years later, it still moved him.
I never saw him fight tears over a ballgame. But several times, I saw his eyes fill when he told me about this former player, or that one, who was serving God wherever and however God had chosen to use him. Basketball may be a big part of my dad’s legacy, but his true legacy is held in lives he touched for Jesus.
When people remember my dad, they may think of his coaching style, his incomparable sports knowledge, or his booming voice yelling at his players from across the court.
I think of those things, too. But even more than all that, I think of his integrity. I think of his unfaltering love for his Savior. I think of his Bible in his hands and his head bowed in prayer.
A Godly Inheritance
Several years ago, my parents called a family meeting with all of us kids. They talked about end-of-life things and had the conversations no one wants to have, but everyone’s thankful for when it’s done.
As part of that meeting, they asked us to think if there was anything we might want from their belongings, anything particularly important or sentimental to us. They didn’t want there to be the slightest chance of arguing or hurt feelings among the siblings once they were gone. Even though we get along very well, they were wise to help us avoid anything that could come between us in a time of grief.
My parents never had many valuables. There was just one priceless treasure I knew I wanted, and last week my mom went ahead and gave me that inheritance.
It was the Bible I watched my mom read every day while growing up.
The red imitation-leather cover is tattered around the edges and is being held together with clear packaging tape along the spine. It’s attached to the bound pages by a few strings and more clear tape.
It looks beaten up and smells like old books always seem to smell. At some places, an entire chapter – or more – has come loose and is folded inside the Book. Most pages are ragged along the bottom, and some sections stick out further than the rest.
When I open the pages of this well-loved Bible, I see countless verses highlighted and underlined. I read notes made during sermons and thoughts penned during personal quiet times. The heart of my mother is in this precious Bible, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
When I think of my mom during my growing-up years, I picture her drinking her coffee every morning, with this red Bible in her lap. I think of the hours spent sitting in church, with her finger gliding underneath each verse as it was read out loud so I could follow along, even before I was old enough to read.
I don’t know if my mom realized it back then, or even now, but she was planting a seed inside of me. She was pouring something into me. She was teaching me something through her actions that was stronger than any words she could have used.
This Bible tells of her love for the Word of God, and her love for the God of the Word. It tells a story that I hope my own children will come to know through me. It’s a story of grace and purpose.
Thankfully, my mom is still here with me, but someday she will be gone. I don’t want to think about it, but it’s true for all of us. This Bible will be more than just a book, or even another copy of the Scriptures that I have on my shelf. It will be part of my mother’s legacy.
Leaving a Legacy That Matters
I can’t help but wonder what kind of legacy I’ll leave for my own children. Whether I walk this earth for one more day or fifty more years, how will I be remembered? What inheritance will I give those I love?
The legacy I want to leave is the life I must live now.
Am I more likely to be brought to tears over a life lived for Jesus, or over a petty disappointment?
Would I rather spend my time serving with joy, or complaining about how much work there is to do?
Will the cover fall off my Bible from “overuse,” or will it be in pristine condition when I’m done with it?
Will one of my children want to have my marked-up Bible because they’ll see it as my most prized possession, or will they think my “stuff” is what mattered most?
Is my life characterized by gentleness and love, or by annoyance and frustration?
Do they see an example of a godly wife?
Do they know a happy mother?
Do they understand the value of caring for a home?
Who am I? Who do I want to be?