"Blessed is the man who fears the Lord. His family will be highly regarded upon the earth and every generation will be blessed. Wealth and riches wil be in their house, and their generosity will endure forever." Psalm 112:1-3
In National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Benjamin Gates (Nicholas Cage) is a true family man. More than riches or love, he values his family and its reputation more than anything else.
As we catch up with Gates in this second installment in the National Treasure franchise, he has moved out of the estate he bought at the end of the last movie and lost the affections of his girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). But he still continues to defend his family's name alongside his father Patrick Gates (Jon Voight).
Once again, Benjamin and his dad are off on another chase; but instead of finding a lost treasure, they are on the move to restore the reputation of the Gates family name (which another sinister character played by Ed Harris has tied to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln).
To clear any implication that the Gates family has involved in the dirty deeds of America's past, the family (along with Abigail - who seems to love the adventure as much as Benjamin - as well as the trusty sidekick Riley, played by Justin Bartha, and Benjamin's mother, played by Helen Mirren) head off to Paris, London, Washington DC, and Mount Rushmore to find the book of secrets which will clear the family of any wrongdoing.
National Treasure is a fun thrill ride of a movie that leads you from one adventure to the next. But the core of the film lies in a converation that Benjamin Gates says to the President of the United States (Bruce Greenwood). He tells him that it is only right to honor, not ignore or destory, those who give the last full measure of devotion to a noble cause. This is why Gates does what he does: to honor his ancestors for their service and righteousness.
We, too, are called to honor our family, and to create a legacy for future generations to be proud of. Like the Psalmist says: "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord. His family will be highly regarded upon the earth and every generation will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their generosity will endure forever." (Psalm 112:1-3).
My grandmother was saint of a woman. She was generous to all who came to her, and she invited so many people into her family, whether they were blood-related or not. She was a humble, prayerful woman who lived in service of those around her. It makes me proud to be in the same family as her, and it is my goal to keep her legacy alive in my own actions and words.
Perhaps you have someone in your family that you are proud to claim as your own. Perhaps there is someone who inspired you, who loved you unconditionally, or who raised you to become to the person you are today. Like Benjamin Gates, we are challenged to honor their legacy - not just defending the family name, but by letting the great spirit of our ancestors live within us.
Thomas Gates was the man Benjamin was proud to claim; he, too, was willing to give the last full measure of devotion, as Thomas did, for what he believed was right and honorable in this world.
How can you and I live up to and become the embodiment of the spirit of those who have gone before us? How will our own actions today inspire future generations tomorrow? I pray that each of us will find greater purpose to our lives through the great and honorable lives of our family members who have made us so very proud.