Every Frodo Needs a Sam | In Memory of Sam Sinclair

Every Frodo Needs a Sam | In Memory of Sam Sinclair

Today the family and friends of Sam Sinclair grieve his loss and celebrate his legacy. Sam Sinclair was an amazing son and brother, and a great friend to so many people. I’ll never forget the days I had with him when he was a student at CSU and a Young Life leader at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins. Sam was full of life, and full of love for others. Today, his family says goodbye to a loving son and brother, and many others say farewell to a very good friend.

Sam Sinclair

Sam Leaves a Legacy of Relationships

Sam has left a legacy of relationships. He somehow learned early on that what matters most in life is relationships. He reminds me of Samwise Gamgee of the Lord of the Rings. He was Frodo’s most loyal friend and encourager. And Frodo could not have carried the burden of his calling without his good friend, Sam’s support.  I think many today would say the same thing about Sam Sinclair. He was a loyal companion to so many.

Sam Was a Story-Maker

As I reflect on Sam, a few stories come to mind.  This morning over coffee, Brian Stribley shared his story of how he needed a friend to drive with him to see his girlfriend (now wife), Sara, and Sam was the only one to volunteer to drive with him and keep him awake. My brother Kevin shared this afternoon how Sam showed up at his wedding with his camera and volunteered to take photos of his wedding day. And even though they had a paid photographer, to this day the pictures they have of their wedding on the walls of their home, are the ones that Sam took.  He had an incredible gift for finding a practical way to serve people with the gifts God had given him.

Thomas Haines reminded me this afternoon, that after he shared with his church, the Tool Room, that he was going to attempt to climb Mount Everest, Sam came up to him and said, “Dude, I’m going with you. I just want to support you any way I can.” And Sam followed through. He showed up in Nepal and made it to Everest Base Camp to show his support of Thomas. What a loyal friend.

Sam Sinclair Was a Living Example of Biblical Friendship

The Bible is full of friendships like the ones Sam embodied. A few that come to mind are Jonathan’s vital friendship with David. And how about, Aaron’s friendship with Moses? Neither of these men, David and Moses, could have accomplished what they did without their close companions, Jonathan and Aaron. And the one that stands out the most for me is Barnabas, who was a close companion of the Apostle Paul. Barnabas was called “Son of Encouragement”, because he was the constant encourager of Paul on his missionary journeys. Everyone needs a Barnabas in their life. Everyone needs a Sam Sinclair in their life too.

Jesus puts it this way:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

And King Solomon said it this way:

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. -Proverbs 18:24

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

There is so much to learn from Sam’s life, but here are a few ways I want to honor his memory:

  • Shine the Joy of Jesus to others like Sam did…
  • Be a loyal friend like Sam was…
  • Leave a legacy of relationships by making heroes of others like Sam did…
  • Invest in young people with my utmost passion and love like Sam did…
  • Be a story-maker by saying “yes” to people in my life—supporting others, going along for the ride, and finding ways to forge deeper relationships by being present in people’s lives…
  • Lastly: Look for the Frodos around me, and be a “Sam” to them, like Sam Sinclair was an Encourager to me and so many others….

Christ is Risen | And So is Sam

I’d like to conclude this reflection on Sam’s life with the lyrics of a song that I think breaths hope into the living legacy that Sam leaves in the world because of his faith and belief in Jesus Christ:

Christ is Risen | Lyrics by Matt Maher

Christ is risen from the dead / Trampling over death by death /  Come awake, come awake! / Come and rise up from the grave…

Oh death! Where is your sting? / Oh hell! Where is your victory? / Oh Church! Come and stand in the light! / The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting? / Oh hell! Where is your victory? / Oh Church! Come and stand in the light! / Our God is not dead, He’s alive! He’s alive!

Christ is risen from the dead / Trampling over death by death / Come awake, come awake! / Come and rise up from the grave / Christ is risen from the dead / We are one with him again / Come awake, come awake! / Come and rise up from the grave / Rise up from the grave!

I look forward to seeing you in Paradise Sam. I’m sure you are already on an epic adventure with Jesus right now. I can’t wait to hear the stories you are making with your Heavenly Father, even today.

Please take a moment and LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW with your own “Sam Story” as a tribute to him.

In Christ,

Ashley Denton

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Join the Discussion!

17 thoughts on “Every Frodo Needs a Sam | In Memory of Sam Sinclair

  1. I was searching for my biological father Brian Stribley and it led me here. I too am a Christian :) sorry for your loss. And so happy for Sam’s gain HE IS WITH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER what a joy!!!! If Brian Stribley Grew up in Omaha Nebraska I may be his Son. He Probably Doesn’t even know I exist. My email is strongforceccj@gmail.com. Thank you and may God bless you.

    • Hey CJ… thanks so much for your comments. It turns out that the Brian I’m talking with is a young friend of mine, but I’ll pray that God leads you in your search! Blessings in Christ, Ashley

  2. Just another story…

    After breaking my elbow in British Columbia on an epic ski adventure with the likes of Sam and a few other dirty fellas from CSU, Sam was the one who stayed with me at the ER.  Sadly, I don’t think I ever reciprocated the kind of selfless love that Sam always jumped right into without hesitation.  It is a special gift to remain present in people’s lives and to not go inward when your own life gets too full.  In the fabled words of William Wallace, “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.”  Way to go Sam…you did.

    peace

  3. Sam and I served on the same Wyldlife team for a short time in Fort Collins. We had club in the basement of the Toolbox. One of my favorite memories of Sam is him dressed as the mad scientist, shaking up 2 liter bottles of soda, then breaking them open with an ax…I bet they cleaned soda off the walls and ceiling of their basement for years to come! He had the gift of humor that made people feel welcome and at home around him.
    Sam took the wedding photo that hangs on our wall too. :)

  4. Thanks Ash, I could not agree with you more.  Just over a year ago several of us drove from Boulder to Montrose, CO to meet up with Sam and Tim Lyons to go skiing in Silverton.  After driving for most of the day we finally arrived in Montrose.  Most of the people in the car had never met Sam before, yet, before we could even turn off the engine Sam had burst out of the house yelling and welcoming us to Montrose and the first stage of our “most epic ski trip.” Sam then quickly proceeded to open the doors to the car hugging and shaking hands with what five minutes ago were total strangers and now were his new friends.  Seeing this type of overwhelming introduction brought me back to when Sam and I first met under similar circumstances some 14 years ago as freshmen in college.  It is moments like these I will treasure for a lifetime.  Sam didn’t wait for a proper introduction or the right time, he simply made it the right time. Sam invested in people, he made friendships a priority, he invaded peoples’ lives and in doing so brought a passion for life and a love for Jesus that could not be ignored.  I smile knowing that Sam’s life had purpose and that he truly used the gifts God gave him to glorify Jesus, for I was a recipient of those gifts.  Thank you brother. See you Paradise.

    • Thank you Zach for painting such a vivid canvas of just a few experiences with Sam that really say it all. I love what you said, Sam didn’t wait for a proper introduction or the right time, he simply made it the right time.” That sums it up… and why he made people feel so loved… if you weren’t a friend of Sam’s… after you met him you were.  That is the aroma of Jesus for sure.

  5. I first met Sam when his family moved to Wake Forest where his dad was a preaching professor of mine. I never remember Sam being anything but happy and outgoing. From early on, he loved Jesus. Over the past several years, we kept in touch talking about our involvement with YL. I could think of no better match for Sam than showing the love of Jesus to high school students. I’m sad and happy at the same time.

  6. I led Young Life in Montgomery County with Sam over the past 6 years and of the many things that struck him as an amazing Christian man for me; the one that impressed me most was how gifted he was ministering to young people.  Taking individuals who may be broken and hiding pain, or putting on a perfect face hiding behind all sorts of issues, befriend them, guide, mentor, and support them and show them the light of Jesus Christ.  God has saved hundreds through him and his gift….maybe more, we are now only getting a glimpse of how far his love spread outside of our individual circles.  When I speak of saved, he not only saved people with The Word, but also just getting back on track in life, away from substance abuse and on to graduating through college and becoming strong Christians who now serve.  We will miss him immensely and will always try to lead by example as Sam did.  

    There are too many crazy stories to pick just one….but most of all Sam was a great Story Teller.  His stories could make you laugh, cry, or both and grip you right where God wanted to tug on your heart.

  7. The main thing I remember about Sam is that he always remembered my birthday and he always made me feel super special on that day! He is also the primary reason that I made it through Physics in college! He loved to worship and he loved people and he will always have a place in my heart! Enjoy heaven buddy!

  8. Thank you Ash for your eloquent writing.  Your words truly capture Sam and the beauty, passion, zeal, and joy by which Sam lived. Dave and I are deeply saddened by Sam’s passing, and amongst the tears, are trying to rejoice in the fact that he is Home. 

    Our favorite Sam stories from the days at CSU:
    – Sam dressing up in the owl suit and hiding in a tree in old town for the scavenger hunt
    – Sitting next to Sam when we worshiped – he loved to belt his voice and to this day whenever we hear the song ‘Your Love is Extravagent’ we look at each other and smirk b/c the best was to be next to Sam when he sang the ‘your friendship, so intimate’ part! Thank you for your call to action…to live in a way that honors Sam’s memory and glorifies God.

    Daily, Dave and I try to step out and follow the path of risk and adventure before us and as of late we’ve been in a rut – paralyzed by exhaustion, anxiety, and contemplating giving in and abandoning the calling.  But today, Sam’s life has reminded us of the fragility of life…days were never promised and so today we choose: we choose hope over despair, we choose entering into the messiness of relationships, and we choose wild abandon – continuing to chase after our dreams.  The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive!  Sam, you were a beacon and your legacy continues…

    You will be missed.
    Peace,
    Dave and Morgan Hansow

    • Thank you Dave and Morgan for sharing your heart and passion for Jesus and your love for Sam. I can really relate with the feelings you express.  And I belly-laughed recounting your stories of Sam’s love for song, humor, and owl suits:) So much to live up to… his legacy gets so much for glory for God, which I know makes the Father smile as he receives Sam in his eternal home. Thanks again for sharing your great stories… that really helps the grieving process as people share, and share again…

  9. This is perfect, Ash, thanks for writing it.

    As I’ve thought of him today, I just see him with a guitar in his hand singing.  It seemed that no matter was going on around him, if there was a guitar he was playing it and usually singing a praise song of some kind.  =) 
    He always had the energy to get people fired up –  exuberant, excited, full of life and unashamed of who he was created to be.  Quite a legacy…