Thoughts on Legacy, Cap Anson, and Enoch

Cap Anson was Major League Baseball’s first superstar. Anson spent the majority of his career as a player/coach for the Chicago White Stockings, and was the first professional player to amass 3,000 hits.  Some of the many records he set during his career lasted for decades.

Anson was a fierce competitor, and his accomplishments in baseball were so important to him that he left instructions that his tombstone read, “Here lies a man who batted .300.”

I’m a huge baseball fan and I think it would be neat to play it at the same level as someone like Cap Anson, but to choose to sum up your entire life with a baseball statistic? Even I think that’s a little sad, and it reveals a perspective on life that is more than a little skewed.

If you could write your own epitaph, or choose just a few words to sum up your life, what words would you use? Perhaps a better question would be, if others were to sum up your life based on what they saw—how you spent your time and money, the things that seemed important to you—what words would they use?
  • Always looking for a promotion…
  • Had the largest house on the block…
  • Biggest gossip in town…
  • Obsessed with cars…
  • Lived vicariously through his children…
Closely related to all of this is the idea of legacy. In legal terms, a legacy is a gift of property or money, usually by means of a will. In a more general sense, your legacy is whatever you leave behind for those who come after you—in some ways it is a token or a synopsis of your life.

If we had the benefit of hearing the epitaphs that others would write for us, it might reveal how skewed our perspectives can be at times (not unlike Cap Anson’s), and let us see that the legacies we leave are often shallow and insignificant.

In Genesis 5, in the midst of a list of Adam’s descendants, we are introduced to a man named Enoch. Enoch lived for 365 years, but his life was summed up in just a few brief words:
“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”
“Walked with God.” That’s an epitaph that I could be happy with, and a legacy that I would be proud to have. But legacies like that don’t come about by accident; rather, they come from a stubborn, persistent lifestyle of discipleship.

So all that leads to this question: What will your legacy be? Put in another way, if you were to pass from this life today, what would your tombstone say?

If you would like it to read differently, then it’s up to you to live differently.


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