“I have some sad news to share with you.”
My associate had just greeted me in the morning as we were both settling down to begin our workday when she startled me with this statement.
“What’s going on?”
She sighed. “I just found out that Jake Smith passed away this past weekend.”
“Wait, what? Jake, you mean the dermatologist who is our client?”
She nodded. “I don’t know any further details but I had it confirmed by two other very reliable sources.”
“Oh my, I think we are the same age. How very sad.”
“As if this year did not have enough drama, right?”
I agreed. An impeachment, a new president, and a worsening COVID crisis. What else could happen? The news profoundly disturbed me and it was difficult to focus on my work for the rest of the day. I shared the tragic news with my staff and asked them to remember Dr. Smith and his family in their prayers. The next day, I received a phone call from a young man who worked in Dr. Smith’s office.
“Doctor, I don’t know if you remember me. I’m Stuart and I work with Dr. Smith. I spoke to you about my own biopsy a few months ago.”
A very bright man, I remembered the conversation very well. “Yes, of course, I remember you. Stuart, please accept my condolences for the passing of Dr. Smith. I knew him for nearly thirty years. He was a great dermatologist.”
“Thank you, Doctor.” He paused. “I am still dealing with it. I loved Dr. Smith.”
“I know, everyone did…what can I do for you?”
“Doctor, I don’t know if you know but Dr. Smith and I were working on a research paper, examining some interesting epidemiological trends amongst the skin cancers in our patient population.”
I recalled a conversation with Jake a few months ago alluding to this study. I did not realize that Stuart was working on this. “Yes, Dr. Smith mentioned it to me.”
“He did, oh good! Dr. Smith always said that he wanted to involve you since you provided the pathology on these skin biopsies. Doctor, we have the manuscript ready to submit for publication but I am only a graduate student and we need another physician on this paper to oversee the edits and editorial corrections. Would you be willing to help me out and be added to this paper?”
It was an unexpected offer but I welcomed the opportunity. “Let’s do this. I would be happy to assist you and honor the legacy of Dr. Smith.”
How do we honor someone’s legacy? There are many ways but continuing their life’s passions is certainly one. The Apostle recognized a legacy of faith in his young protege, 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)
Timothy’s legacy of faith began with his grandmother. Paul honored this legacy by mentoring Timothy and establishing him as one the leaders of the early Church. Timothy’s legacy continued through the church at Ephesus and the countless Christians who were influenced by his godly example.
I will grieve for my colleague and his family but am thankful for the opportunity to continue his legacy of scholarship and education. For Christians, we can honor the memory of saints who have passed by re-telling the stories of their faith to encourage our faith in God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.