Pondering Paul Newman’s Death – “Legacy – Live Love”

Legacy is simple. Live love.

Jesus was right. The greatest thing in all of life is love. Not the kind of love that means you like something or that you find chocolate electrifyingly good. Not love looking for a return. We’re talking the kind of love that climbs up on a Cross for another even when you could walk away. Love that gives simply because giving is right. You just can’t argue with sacrificial love.

It doesn’t take much to prove that legacy comes from living a life of love. And that was where my mind wandered as I pondered the fact that Paul Newman had just died. Any memorial of Newman can list paragraph after paragraph of amazing accomplishments in cinema. But any of those accomplishments can be criticized or argued with. Some might say he wasn’t nearly as good of an actor as he was blessed with great blue eyes. Regardless of one’s opinion about his acting skills, though, ask 100 people to list their top three favorite actors of all time, and clearly not every one of them would include Newman in such a list – even if they expanded the list to include ten actors or more!

If you are a Democrat you might remember and praise Newman’s political views and political donations, but there are millions who would find such views and donations detracting.

But what can’t be argued with is Newman’s generosity and care for people who aren’t often cared for. His Newman’s Own Foundation gave more than $250 million to thousands of charities worldwide and his Hole-in-the-Wall Camps provided summer breaks for children with serious illnesses. Sure, some could look at what he gave to or his motives and find fault, but what is unimpeachable is a heart willing to give time, effort, and money to children whose lives would be cut short by diseases such as AIDS.

Paul Newman from his Hole in the Wall Camps website

When anyone asked Paul Newman what mattered he was quick to say he remained fulfilled by his charitable work, saying it was his greatest legacy, particularly in giving ailing children a camp at which to play. (Taken from an online NYTimes article here). I think Newman understood something Paul the Apostle captured in his writing about love – “Love never fails . . . . the greatest of [all] things is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:8, 13. One could easily say that acts of love simply can’t be argued with and are the one thing that any of us can do that will last forever – that is, the one thing that will leave a legacy.

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