Passing The Torch

15 04 2012

I just returned from a visit to a funeral home in a village about six miles away.  Good friends of ours lost a mother, mother-in-law and grandmother.  The fine lady who passed from this life to the next helped guide me in the direction of the woman of my dreams in the autumn of 1987.  Louise was a special person and will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved her.

I had the chance to chat with her grandson, a friend of mine and one of my former students.  Twelve years ago, I was his chemistry teacher.  Six years before that, his principal.

He’s done well in business and we discussed his newest business venture.  He’s facing the challenges of our present economic malaise but has his head up and I suspect he’ll continue to do well.

As I’ve reflected on our conversation, I’m challenged once about the importance of legacy and passing on what we’ve been given.

His father has done well in business and his mother, a very diligent lady in her own right, is talented in many skills, not least carpentry!  It is inspiring.  Father and mother have passed on a certain acuity and business sense to their four children.  They all appreciate the value of hard work, the importance of numbers and cash and the can-do that makes for success in business.

Luke and I discussed entrepreneur Richard Branson, something of a mentor and role model for him, and how he does business.  Branson, who among other things built and owns Virgin Airlines as well as a variety of other ventures, likes to do things big and right.  He’s been knighted by the British Empire and has gotten the attention of my friend.

One of the things we talked about is how those with significant wealth often feel a certain moral constraint to give back.  To see their ability and resources as a stewardship, something to be used for far larger ends than simple personal consumption.  John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates all come to mind.  Rockefeller in particular viewed his wealth—and he was by far the wealthiest American that has ever lived—as a sacred trust.  He was very careful about the way in which he passed on and divested himself of his fortune.

He knew that he’d have to answer to God for his oversight of what he’d been given.  Perhaps that is the prime reason why he’d been trusted with so much, the product of a lot of foresight, hard work and perhaps some heavy-handed business practice.

Here’s the challenge:  What resources, skills or values have you been given?  How have you stewarded these important things?  And how have you or will you pass them on to your family, your friends and associates, and the world?

As a Christian, it is an article of faith that one day, after death, I will give account to my Creator for my stewardship—my life, my resources, my influence, my unique calling.

Are you prepared to give account?

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8 responses

15 04 2012
Jean Benson

When we were at the funeral home the line was way out the door and I thought to myself what a legacy…Only met her a few times but really liked Louise…As for my stewardship does it mean anything when I don’t have anything left at the end of the month cause I give it all away? I just believe you can’t take it with you, my bills are paid, I have tithed and then some so why not help those that need help whether it be family , friends or charity..We have all we need from Jehovah …Love you man!!!

15 04 2012
Christian Fahey

Love you too, Jean! We all have deposits in our lives–not just money, but values, abilities, perspectives. Louise and Donnie Hoppel def passed those on!

16 04 2012
Kristin Barton Cuthriell

This is so well written. You have articulated some extremely important points for us to ponder. Purpose, legacy, unique calling, stewardship.. We all have unique gifts and need to slow down long enough to reflect on what we are doing with them. Thank you for sharing. I am sorry for your loss, sounds like an amazing person. Keep inspiring.

16 04 2012
Christian Fahey

Thanks so much for your kind words, Kristin. It is almost a daily reality check to look at what we’ve been given in so many areas and how well we are caring for it. It convicts me, candidly! Thanks for stopping by!

16 04 2012
Costa Timothy Deir

Very good post; inspiring to say the least! Life and death thoughts have a way of putting everyone on the same level. What will our lives really mean when we reach the end?

16 04 2012
Christian Fahey

Thanks Costa! Louise was a good lady and left a fine legacy. She and Donnie were married over 50 years. Thanks for reading!

10 05 2012

Chris, your kind words bring tears to my eyes. She was an amazing MIL to me and loved people so very much. I can only look forward to the day I see her in His throne room with all her rewards……

10 05 2012
Christian Fahey

Thank you, Julie. Louise was indeed a special lady and she has passed on that legacy to her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren. It’s very inspiring and edifying. She charted her life by values eternal and that has made all the difference both in this world and in the world to come. Thanks for reading!

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