Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, May 19 - The Best Legacy

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” — Proverbs 22:1

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The world of tennis was treated to an intensely emotional moment in February 2022 when 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro retired from the sport. The Argentine had achieved some remarkable things in his career, which included several titles, rising to No. 3 in the world, and winning both a bronze and silver medal at the Olympics.

Even more remarkable was that del Potro had been able to accomplish what he did during the age of the “Big Three.” He beat Roger Federer for his only major win, and became the only man outside Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to win a major between the 2005 French Open and Wimbledon in 2012. Many had expected del Potro to come away with multiple majors, since he appeared to be one of the only players who could challenge the top trio; after all, he was only 19 when he won the U.S. Open.

Sadly, injuries kept on taking their toll and just when it would seem like he was getting back into form after an extended rehab, something else would come up. Finally, in mid-2019, a knee injury turned out to be the last straw, and after multiple surgeries and treatments in hopes of returning to the sport, del Potro was forced to announce his retirement. He was able to get healthy enough to play one last match in his home country, and the tears flowed as the sport said goodbye to its “gentle giant.”

As del Potro faced the press and discussed his stepping away from tennis, he was asked if he had any regrets about his career and the fact that he hadn’t done more in the sport when hopes had once been so high over his potential. What he said next was nothing short of beautiful: “The hardest thing to earn is the love of the people — something more important than majors.” He went on to say that the fact he had the support and adoration of the tennis fans and the respect of his peers was far more valuable than any trophy. While heartbroken at ending his career in this way, he was satisfied that he’d achieved something far more lasting and valuable.

The pressure of our world to reach certain heights of achievement and success can often make us forget the value of reputation and the legacy of love we are leaving along the way. The focus in our society on things like money, position, power and fame that you can’t take with you into eternity are very enticing, but lead us away from what truly matters: how we honor God and treat others. After all, Jesus said the only thing that matters in our short earthy life is that we love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). To Him, leaving a legacy is more important than stacking up great riches.

Juan Martin del Potro was onto what Proverbs 22:1 states so clearly: It’s more valuable to have a good reputation — a good name — than it is to accumulate wealth. Make sure your heart and your motives are in the right place, and that you’re leaving the best legacy, not just the type the world approves of.

— Katherine Singer

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