What stays when you leave?

Every so often, I hear a story about someone who became a millionaire overnight, not by winning Mega Millions or because they bought into one of those Make money in your jammies infomercials that come on at 2 a.m., but by the death of a wealthy family member.

The moment dear old Granny passed, several million dollars were transferred into the account of a fortunate grandchild, a tragedy-made millionaire. How amazing is that? Of course, not the death part, the instant wealth part.

Sadly, my Grandpa passed away yesterday afternoon. He stepped from this life to the next, and he didn’t leave me one red cent. Ridiculous.

Hansel Ahas Hyde (Best name ever, right?), worked his entire life, literally. Some men work long enough to save enough money to fill the Retire in Florida jar and then they wave goodbye to the workforce and hello to the Lazyboy. There is nothing wrong with that. Retirement is an amazing thing. It just didn’t happen for Grandpa.

He spent his life working as a professional painter and builder, hard, skilled labor. He is the archetype you use when describing a hard worker.

Oh yea, well my Grandpa did that stuff in his seventies.

But at the end, after all that back-breaking work, what did he have to show for it? Nothing, if you judge by his bank account. Not one thing if we are talking about portfolios and Roth IRA’s.

Thank God he had more to show than that. I like this quote:

Some people are so poor all they have is money. – Unknown

I am in no way implying that being wealthy is shameful. Wealth can be very helpful. In fact, I hope to be able to not only provide for my family, but to create a foundation for the financial stability of my grandchildren. I’m simply saying, money is not what life is about. It is only a tool.

I’m glad my grandfather left something far more valuable than green paper behind. He left a legacy.

Grandpa Hyde loved God. He spent years as a minister and built churches. He was not perfect, of course. He made mistakes along the way, but his heart was after God. I can’t remember a moment around him that I felt unloved. My brother summed it up best with a Facebook post yesterday.

To the man who always put a smile on my face and could make a room full of people just break out in laughter..the person I would dream to model my life after unselfish and would give the shirt off his back to a complete stranger…I love you so much and will never forget the great times we had together…gone but never forgotten I’ll see you again. I love you grandpa.

I can’t read that without tears welling in my eyes. Justin’s statements are not hyperbolic. They are not the exaggerated words of a person in mourning. My Grandpa was that man, and I echo my brother’s sentiments.

I think of the words of the apostle Paul to a young pastor named Timothy:

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. (2 Timothy 1:5 ESV)

My faith can be traced back to the faith of a man named Hansel Hyde. By God’s grace, that faith moved into the heart of Renita Garcia (my mother) and now moves in me. I can only pray that, if God blesses me with children, I can pass it down to them.

That is a legacy without a price tag. 

What about you? When you leave, what stays?

  • Money? That’s great, but will the recipients handle it well, or will they be handled by it? Strive to model the correct approach.
  • Stuff? Whatever you own will one day be owned by someone else or be thrown away. Give something that will last. Give yourself.

My grandpa’s death is a painful reminder of the fragility of life. Death respects no man. We could leave this earth at any time. What are you doing right now for the people in your life? What will you leave behind? Don’t waste a moment.

Who has had a profound impact on your life? How would you like to be remembered? Comment below.

Photo Credit: ChrisK4U (Creative Commons)

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2 responses to “What stays when you leave?”

  1. Noah Matthews says :

    First, may I offer my condolences. Second, how amazing that you had someone in your life like that. Unfortunately, so few do. You have truly been blessed. My mother was my hero but she was taken from this world by a great and unbearable evil in an unthinkable way that has destroyed lives that only God can rebuild. She left behind a legacy of love, sacrifice, and courage amidst incredible trials. Not the type of courage one might thing. She was fearful, but she knew One who was greater than her fear. Which makes the way in which she entered into the arms of her Savior so difficult to accept. Where was his protection? But, it is her legacy of love, sacrifice for others, and courage even when she was fearful that have blessed so many.

    Thank you for sharing the story of your Grandfather. I wish I had known him.

    • Anthony Garcia says :

      Thank you for the kind words, Noah. I’m also sorry to hear about your mother. I know that words don’t really do justice for these situations. I also know that God doesn’t always protect us from evil, which is hard, but he does deliver us from evil. I take comfort in the words of Paul. “The suffering we endure in this present time is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us,” obviously speaking of eternity with Christ. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. And thank you again for the kind words. God bless.

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