By Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew
I was devastated when I learned of his death. I couldn’t believe that the man I had affectionately known as the Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, had passed away. In his forty plus years on the planet, he had accomplished more than many. He made multiple films that highlighted strong, iconic Black men like Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, and James Brown. His generosity was also revealed in the days after his death. He contributed millions to provide PPE to hospitals serving Black patients. His life reminded me that all of us will leave a legacy. Each day, we are building a foundation for our lives and how people will remember us. One of the most impactful activities I have ever done was write my obituary. It was not only humbling, but it helped me to think about how I wanted to live. Death is something we will all face and every single day we are blessed to experience is a gift. I have never been to a funeral in which a person’s wealth, accomplishments or stuff is the sole focus. It is usually memories of how a person made you feel. Are you being intentional in creating a legacy that changes lives so that others are better because you were here?
Legacy isn’t just about leaving generational wealth although that is important and something the Black community lags behind (read Prosperity Now’s report on Racial Wealth Gap) compared to other racial groups. Legacy is about relationships and leaving behind something that is more than stuff that will rot but is about the eternal. Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” Dave Ramsey states, “Combining a financial inheritance with wisdom and godliness ensures that the next generation will also manage God’s blessings….” We cannot only focus on just leaving financial wealth. We must consider leaving a legacy that also includes emotional and spiritual wealth as well.
Here are some things you should consider in building a legacy:
- The Treatment of Others: How do you treat others? Is it more about you than serving others? Matthew 23:23 says 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,[a] and to walk humbly with your God?” If we were to ask those who didn’t know you, could they say you were just and kind? Could they see your faith reflected in your actions?
- Using Your Time, Talent and Treasure to Make a Difference: Chadwick Boseman did this. He was committed to using his God-given purpose. Matthew 25:14-30 states “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. …” Are you hiding your talents, time and treasures or are you multiplying them so that others benefit?
- Being a person of character: Are you a person that people want to be around? Are you trustworthy, reliable, kind, compassionate? 1 Samuel 16:7 says “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” You can be the best dressed, make the most money and live in the biggest home. It won’t matter. God sees beyond the exterior. How is your heart?
Chadwick Boseman has taught us so much through his life and in his death. I hope that we take note. I hope that we are committed to leaving a legacy that changes lives for generations to come.
Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the author of three books and has recently launched the podcast, The Tapestry. Visit https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-tapestry_1 to listen. Learn more about Dr. Froswa’ at https://drfroswa.com/.