Get free weekly resources from us!
Got it! Would you also like offers and promos from Group?
Thanks, you're all set!
Read in
3 mins

What Legacy Will You Leave?

paul walker

I received this text the day it happened.  “Paul Walker is dead.”

My mind stretched and searched and I could not think if this was someone I was supposed to know. (Maybe I live in a cave?) After being informed he is the face of the “Fast & Furious Franchise,” I honestly wasn’t sure how to feel about this guy I knew nothing about.

Since that time a couple of weeks ago I see Paul Walker’s face on everything. The latest “Fast & Furious” can be purchased on DVD where you can “celebrate his talent.” Thousands of people flocked to his funeral which was announced on social media. His face is everywhere.

My students want to discuss the passing of Paul Walker often. I think it’s because some decided to have Fast & Furious movie marathons over Thanksgiving weekend. The girls have said, “He was so gorgeous. It’s a shame.” The boys just wish they had his car.

 I wonder if that is the legacy he most wanted to leave? 

Brought up a Morman he attended a Christian High School.  In an article someone sent me it claimed he was a “non-denominational Christian.”  The article didn’t talk about a relationship with a Savior, as much as nature helps him know there is a God. It was followed by an article about how he wanted to play Christian Grey in the movie adaptation of “50 Shades of Grey.”

I wonder again,  Is THAT the legacy he wanted to leave?”

There was another person in the car, the driver Roger Rodas. For all the information about Paul Walker all I have found about him was that he was a financial advisor and, “died in the crash as well.”   Is that the legacy HE wanted to leave?

nelson_mandelaIn the midst of all the fast and fury, Nelson Mandela passed away. In contrast, when I was told that, the Political Science major in me who had studied the history of South Africa gasped. He donned the covers of newspapers and magazines side by side with Walker. When asked about him, the same students recalled maybe hearing his name in history class. A man born an African prince (Madiba), who spent most of his life in jail for the sake of injustice, who brought down Apartheid and championed peace, he bears a legacy that will don history books for a long while. One of his most famous quotes refers to his Christian faith: “until I changed myself, I could not change others.” (Meaning until he was changed.)  Here is HIS legacy:

“A giant of history … In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness; through persistence and faith … He accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price … We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. But let me say to the people of Africa, and young people around the world: You can make his life’s work your own.”- President Obama

I believe this is a Legacy he doesn’t regret.

Here we have two men who have left this earth.  Unfortunately, Paul Walker will be remembered far less for his charity and the work and humility he offered through it, than his being an actor. Nelson Mandela is remembered as a world changer. Yet, our students tend to “care” about the glamorous.

I wonder this week when we see our students will we be brave enough to point to of the idea of legacy.

Then will we ask them (and maybe ourselves): What is the legacy we want to leave?  While not an easy question to answer it feels more powerful than, “What do you want to DO with your life?”

So I challenge you, this week when a student talks about their favorite “whoever” will you bring the focus back around to legacy?  Will you tell them stories of the people who have impacted you who have gone before and never made the news?  Could their legacy involve telling the world about Christ, starting today?

Talk to me- what are you thinking?




6 thoughts on “What Legacy Will You Leave?

  1. Here’s my frustration with the Walker/Mandela discussion. Actually, let me begin with a FB post that a Christian friend wrote the day Walker died.

    “Did any of you actually know Paul Walker? Didn’t think so…”

    His point being, there was post after post about people lamenting his death and obviously these people didn’t know Walker (only in their dreams). And yet somehow, they shouldn’t be allowed to grieve or participate in the loss. What about the Bible verse about grieving with those who grieve? Does this only apply to fellow Christians? Peace keepers? Those that left a POSITIVE legacy?

    Sure, I get your point, legacy is important. Like the woman with the alabaster box, loving on Jesus with everything she had and the verse following reading : “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” WOW. Legacy. Awesomeness.

    But let’s not downplay one person’s life to make an example of them. Or uplift another who was indeed, just a man as well. Both loved for different reasons. Both making an impact for different reasons.

    • I totally get where you are coming from. It may feel judgmental to say this persons life was better spent than this persons life (especially when we didn’t personally know either). But remember a legacy has little to do with what you do, and a lot to do with how you are remembered. The point, I think, of this post is not to pit two souls against each other for comparison, but to point out that when we pass on, people will remember us. How we live, and the choices we make not only determine where our souls go, but how we are remembered on those who remain. Thus, making the question, “how do you want to be remembered” a good question to ask ourselves frequently.

    • Holly,

      Thank you so much for you point. It helps me know that the post perhaps was not as clear as I would like. I was not trying to say at all that Paul Walker’s life was better or worse than Mandela’s. Instead I was talking about how they each will be remembered. Paul Walker had an amazing charity and did a lot of hands on work and yet, that is not the memory that has led the news. His driver was reduced to two sentences. You bring a good point as well about those who might want to grieve with Paul Walker’s mourners. Other will grieve Mandela. It was not meant at all to down play any life. I did not know either man personally. Instead, it got me contemplating, “How did each of these men desire to be remembered? Is that the memory that is being honored.” Neither life was less important to Christ.- Thanks- Leneita

  2. This is great! Every year we do a legacy service with our teens on the last sunday of the year. We let them think about who they are, and who they’d like to be and what choices they need to make to get there; then they write themselves a letter one year from that date, and we hold on to them, and deliver them on the next legacy service. I’m thankful for your heart on this issue, and echo your thoughts!

  3. The politicians and celebrities have the Media to write their legacy we have our friends and family. I know i won’t be remembered for any acting role an a big movie or for being a leader of a country so i guess the legacy most of us will be in the hearts and thoughts of those we leave behind.

    I remember a saying that goes something like this “as you pass through the doors of your experiences in your life if one of the doors squeaks fix it so it wont squeak for the person behind you” and that’s what i try to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What Legacy Will You Leave?

Get free weekly resources from us!
Get free weekly resources from us!
Got it! Would you also like offers and promos from Group?
Thanks, you're all set!