The Word — You only take what you leave behind

Published 8:00 am Sunday, October 23, 2022

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On Oct. 5, Stephen Vogt played his final career baseball game. In his final at bat in the bottom of the 7th, his children announced their dad coming to the plate for the final time. Vogt told, “I just got every emotion out. I was just like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ So happy and so elated. The little kid in you that used to play out in the front yard and pretended to be Will Clark, I let that come out. I enjoyed ever second of it. It was a thrilling, thrilling moment.”

Stephen Vogt. Not a huge name. Ten years as an MLB player for 6 different teams (and one of those two different times). An MLB All-Star twice (2015 and 2016). A career batting average of .239 with 82 home runs and 313 RBIs. Vogt steps on home plate, hugs Ernie Clement who was on deck, waves to the crowd and receives high fives from each of his teammates in the dugout and coaches who come to meet him and pushed back to the field by Tony Kemp and Vogt waves his arms in all directions to a crowd of thankful people. He locks eyes with his wife, Alyssa and other members of his family as he receives his final curtain call.

“It’s not something I take lightly”, said Vogt, “I know very few of us get to do it, and I’m so thankful” he tells MLB. com.

What makes his final hit being a home run so amazing is that Stephen Vogt’s first at bat was also a home run. This makes him just 1 of 10 players since 1961 to have their first and last at bats be homers. All this to say: next year the Oakland Athletics will have a new catcher. When we stop working, a replacement will be in our spot quickly. Over time, people will forget who held certain positions. Over time, the stories will fade. Over time, the acknowledgements will cease. Over time the games will continue without us.

John Allston said, “The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind.” Shannon Alder beautifully stated: “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul reminds the church that all he had received he passed on to them. May we do the same so the next generation never forgets all God has done and will do for those who obey and follow. We may be replaced and forgotten, but the legacy of God continues as we pass along what’s of most importance … His loving way.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at