His life was short ... way too short. The church where he was an elder moved sharply toward the negative after his death. He left behind a loving wife and an only child — a grown and married daughter — at his death. He had made his mark in his work, helping start an operation in Italy and running one in the states. He loved saltwater fishing. He kept his wooden boat in meticulous condition. He was great with his strong hands and kept his tools neatly arranged, ready and clean for their frequent use. His yard was neat as a pin with the smell of mint in the back flowerbed.

All this came flooding back to me this week as I was hanging pictures with my wife in our new home. I picked up a little tack hammer — just like the one he used and taught me to use many years ago. He was my grandfather — Gordon Phillips. I called him Daddy Gordon. He died before I was six years old. What I remember are just little snatches of him from a young boy's faulty memory. Yet all it took was a little, wooden-handled tack hammer to bring it all back. Such is the power of influence. We call it legacy!

I have heard it often said that the measure of a person is not the years of his or her life, but the life in those years. I guess I'd come down somewhere in the middle of that statement — the people I love and admire I want to live a long time so the life in their years can have a powerful impact. Yet I can't help but be impressed with the legacy left by this one man who departed this earth at 51 years. His daughter, my mom, has been a lady of faith and has touched literally thousands of people through her ministry and hospitality to high school and college students over six decades of ministry. His three grandsons are men of faith with families of faith. They preach, teach, write, minister, lead, and serve. Tens of thousands of people have been impacted by their lives and influence — and yes, all three have a love for saltwater fishing like their Daddy Gordon.

So what's the point? Oh, if I'm honest, I'm doing a little reminiscing. But more than that, I'm reminding myself that all any of us gets is one lifetime. To get the most of that lifetime, we need to invest in two things — faith and family. Then we go about doing what we do and being who we are with those priorities, trusting that God will make the impact of our lives significant to his glory on those we love, no matter how many years we have here on our little blue planet.

All any of us gets is one lifetime.
As I approach the age that my grandfather and my father both left this life, I can't help but think about them and their influence on my own life. I am thankful that all it takes is a little tack hammer to take me back to their influence and to remember the important things of their lives. Such is the power of a legacy of family and faith. May such legacy be mine ... and yours!

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT)