What Will Your Legacy Be?

IMG_1812My grandmother, most every time I saw her, smelled of two things: the dirt from her plants or garden, and the flour from whatever she was making in the kitchen. Grandma was always tending something — a begonia, an angel food cake whipped up from scratch for company, whatever sewing project she was presently involved in – always, she was tending. Fixing. Making. Creating.

One of the things she made like no one else was fried chicken. It was a simple recipe: chicken soaked in salt water overnight, then rinsed and dragged through some self-rising flour, then fried until just golden in an old iron skillet, and then baked at a low temp for about a half hour before serving. And often I’d just watch her while she did it, my mouth watering, knowing that soon enough a piece of it would be on my plate, and it would taste so very good. I try to replicate it, as Grandma has been gone for some time, but alas, I cannot.

Grandma was not wealthy or privileged or high society. She was real. And she loved her family with every ounce of that realness. And so when I think of her, I think of a legacy of caring. Of selflessness. Of care-taking. Of love.

I think about legacy a lot in my work at LTS, often reflecting on the mentors and professors and shepherds who helped lead me to and through and beyond my seminary education. I’m grateful for them all, and, this month, have given special thanks for the life and legacy of Dr. Hal Watkins, who, without fail, had a kind word and a twinkling smile for this once very overwhelmed and insecure seminary student. His legacy is also one of attention to and care of people, and of tremendous generosity – in both word and deed.

I reflect often, too, on the men, women and congregations whose financial gifts to the Seminary made it possible for me to follow a call to ministry. I stand in humble amazement of their willingness to invest in me. Their gifts to the Ministerial Education Fund (MEF) literally made it possible for me to go to school without significant financial challenge. And one way I honor their giving is by giving, every month, a small amount. I do so with gratitude, hope and trusting that my participation in the MEF, no matter how insignificant it might seem at times, does, in fact, make a difference for our current 135 students. Someone – many someones, really – paid it forward for me once, and, in doing so, left a legacy of generosity on my heart. I try my best to honor it.

And I’d invite you to join me, by considering a gift to the MEF – by December 31st, if at all possible – so that, together, our gifts can pave the way for another person to answer his or her call to ministry.

You may give via check (made out to LTS and earmarked “Ministerial Education Fund”), or you may give online at www.lextheo.edu/donate.

I wish joy and peace to you this Christmas season, and I give thanks for your part in continuing the legacy that is Lexington Theological Seminary.

Merry Christmas,