I learned a huge lesson on my first Sunday as the new pastor of the Easley Church of God. Well actually, the lesson wasn’t learned until much later.
Turns out that on that first Sunday, as I was shaking people’s hands and introducing myself to them and they to me, that I accidentally skipped a person and did not shake their hand. As a result, they were offended at me, left the church, and did not come back while I was pastor there.
I did not learn this until after I had left the church at Easley to go to my present assignment, but I have never forgotten the lesson I learned from that experience (actually there are several lessons here, but I’ll save them for another day).
The lesson is this: Your life leaves a “wake”.
Are you familiar with what I mean by “wake”? A wake is the waves that follow behind a boat or ship as it plows through the water. Anytime you walk into a room, you presence leaves a wake. Anytime you enter into someone’s life, your life leaves a wake. There’s no way around it, no matter who you are your life makes an impression on somebody.
You can be intentional about that impression or you can blindly go through life with little or no regard for what kind of wave washes up on the shore of the people you pass by. The wise person who wants to leverage their life for good will choose the former option—intentionally trying to represent Jesus Christ well to a hurting and lost world.
As Christians, we do not have the luxury of sharpening our claws on other people because we are having a bad day. We don’t have the choice of ignoring people because we’re busy; we are called to be “salt” and “light” to this world.
Like the person I offended at Easley COG, there will be unintentional lapses and there will be extra-sensitive people who will misunderstand you and not give you a break, but never underestimate the wake you are leaving behind you as you go through each day. The one thing for today?
- The ONE THING for today: Be intentional about the impression you make—you never know the distant shores those impressions may wash up on someday.