Jim Denison on How Ross Perot Shows Us the Importance of Legacy

Ross Perot died yesterday morning in Dallas after a five-month battle with leukemia. He was eighty-nine.

Whether you live in Dallas or Denmark, you probably know of Mr. Perot through his two campaigns for president and his pioneering work in computer services that made him a billionaire.

But if that’s all you know of him, you missed the most significant part of him.


I met Mr. Perot and his wife, Margot, at various functions in Dallas over the years and know him primarily through my friendship with his son, Ross Perot Jr. But everywhere I travel in Dallas, I meet his legacy.

The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center was built in part through a $10 million donation from Mr. Perot, who insisted that the center be named not for himself but for his longtime business partner. Mr. Perot and his wife made contributions to medical care in our city exceeding $100 million.

His work on improving schools and caring for our nation’s POWs and veterans was groundbreaking. The rescue he organized for company employees imprisoned in Iran became the basis for Ken Follett’s 1983 nonfiction book, On Wings of Eagles, and a TV miniseries.

If you read the Dallas Morning News profile of Mr. Perot, you’ll get a sense of the man and his enduring significance to our city. If you read the Washington Post profile, you’ll see a much more negative, politicized agenda at work. (In fact, it’s hard for me to believe that the person who wrote the Post obituary ever met the man or his family.)

Therein lies my point today: if you want to leave your best legacy, write it yourself. Focus on who you are more than what you do. Care less about what the world thinks of you than what you can do for the world.

As Ross Perot told a reporter who asked what he wanted to be remembered for: “Aw, I don’t worry about that.” Be your best self and leave the results to God.


This week, we’ve been discussing the urgency and joy of preparing for eternity by living for heaven on earth. This decision starts with the choices we make that no one sees, the private character that is the foundation of our public lives.

Of all our priorities, this should come first. This is why Jesus taught us to love God “with all your heart” (Matthew 22:37). And it’s why Satan will do all he can to attack our souls.

Paul warned the Corinthians: “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). The enemy’s strategy has not changed since the Garden of Eden because it still works today.

The essence of his scheme is simple: he claims that what he offers will be worth more than its cost. You’ve heard all the rationales in your mind, as have I: “No one will know.” “No one will be hurt.” “You can always repent later.”

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Source: Christian Headlines