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What a life — what a legacy


leaving a legacy

Our lives are filled with “firsts.” First tooth. First steps. First date. First car.

But a few years ago I experienced a first of a different stripe — I helped to bury a friend, one of my comrades on the team of speakers for our Weekend to Remember™ getaways: J.T. Walker. After an 18-month battle with leukemia, J.T. passed away on June 10, 2004. He left a wife, Enid, and five children (three daughters and two sons) ages 5 to 20.

J.T. was passionate about his Savior, his family, and his church. (He was pastor of community outreach at Immanuel Baptist Church in Springfield, VA.) He also was fervent in his desire to reach others with the message of the gospel and of God’s blueprints for building a family. He served on our speaker team for nine years and spoke at more than 50 Weekend to Remember getaways to more than 25,000 people.

Just six weeks before his death, he spoke at a conference in Boston. One man who attended, a pastor who had been married 23 years, said that his marriage was “hanging by a shadow of a thread …” and that God had used J.T. to breathe fresh hope into a dead marriage. That day, a marriage, a family, and a ministry had been rescued. That was a mark of the man’s life.

Like most of our speakers, J.T. had some signature illustrations. One was the story of his father, who built cabinets and tables. His dad would complete a table and then stain it before applying the varnish. As a young lad, J.T. played under one of those tables and noticed that his father’s handprint was stained into the wood where he had held it as he stained the top. J.T. put his hand on that handprint but never could quite fill up the imprint. His dad’s life was like that — challenging him to become the man God had made him to be. As a man, husband, and father, J.T. Walker ultimately filled the handprint of his father … and more.

At a memorial service attended by more than 1,100 people, I shared a conversation that I had with J.T. shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer. I can still recall where I was standing on that cold December day as I spoke with him on a cell phone. J.T. was about to celebrate Christmas alone, going through the rigors of chemotherapy. I finally prayed with him, but not before he began to weep and express to me what a privilege it was for him to speak at our getaways. He then gave me a charge to be a steward of what he said was the “most important ministry and message of our day to the family.” Through tears, he exhorted me to be faithful. And I had called to pray with him.

What a man.

What a husband.

What a father.

What a life.

What a legacy.

Is there someone who has made that kind of impression on your life or someone you know?  Share their name here as a tribute.  Too often we wait until it’s too late to tell someone, “Thank you for investing in me.”  No time like the present, is there?

Adapted from an article from

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1 Comment

  1. December 8, 2012    

    Tommie or Tom Davis who forever shaped. challenged and is responsible for being the man I am today along with my Grandfather who shaped me or challenged me to be God’s man.

1 Trackback

  1. What a Life, What a Legacy - on December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am
  2. Azhaar on July 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm

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