Measuring the Impact of Our Lives

What will people say about you when you are gone? What will be said about your life, your family, your ministry, your church, your organization in its absence? Will people and the communities that you lived and worked in every day notice that you are no longer there? Will they sense and understand all too well what your not being there means for their lives moving forward?

I am reading this awesome book by Matt Brown, Revolutionaries (side note: if you want a good read about Church History that is practical and lively, get this book)! In it Brown, describes the life of the early apostle, James, the half brother of Jesus. This is what is said of James:

“Because of his holy life, James was called ‘The Just’ and ‘The Safeguard of the People.’ Considered a just and perfect man, James governed the church with the apostles. He drank no wine or any strong drink, ate no meat, and never shaved his head. He was the only man allowed to enter into the holy place, for he never wore wool, just linen. He would enter into the temple alone, fall on his knees and ask remission (forgiveness) for the people, doing this so often that his knees lost their sense of feeling and became hardened like the knees of a camel…He prayed so much that when he was martryed the early church could feel the effects of his missed prayers.”

I was absolutely blown away as I read that last sentence, and thought to myself how amazing it was that one person could have so much impact on an entire church community. James’ impact was so great that when he was no longer around, people recognized the spiritual void that had resulted. I wonder if the same can be said of us and so I pose this question – does what we are doing right now matter? I mean, seriously matter in the grand scheme of things? Are we doing good things or are we doing great things that will have  a profound impact on the lives around us and ultimately history?

Most of us will probably never be a James (I mean, he was the half-brother of Jesus – come on!) However, we can still be effective and powerful in the settings that God has placed us. I believe that it all comes down to doing what we know in our hearts is right – even if it costs us. Such will undoubtedly call us to take the road less traveled by others around us – family, friends, and colleagues. But remember we are not going after conventionality here, but that which makes a difference!

The apostles are great examples of people who were change makers. They rejected the status quo, held to their convictions and did what they knew was right! But history is replete with men and women of God who acted in a similar manner and we are still feeling the impact of their actions today.

So where do you stand? And what will you be remembered for? Will you stick with the status quo, and ignore your convictions? Or will you be a catalyst for change in your world? I hope that we all choose the later.

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