Monday, October 10, 2005

Lasting Impressions

On a message board I frequent, one young lady posted the following:

What would people remember about you and how would they describe you if they'd only met you once in a public place, or were an acquaintance that didn't know you personally? These can be things you do, things you are known for, things you are, physical appearance, etc.

I replied with the following:

I'm most often labelled as "that tall girl with the really long, really blond hair" or
"that girl who wears skirts all the time." Also, I'm "that girl who is ghostly pale and offered to do my eulogy when I die of skin cancer." I'm also "that girl who is obsessed with math" or "that girl who wants to live in the 19th century." Also "That girl who wants 12 kids."
Now, my answers were amusing (and quite true), but after reading my reply and the replies of the others on the board, I could not help but think that something was lacking.

If the most lasting impression I leave with someone is the fact that I am really pale or that I want 12 kids, then have I not missed my purpose in life? The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q1). If I am truly walking in the ancient paths (not merely the 19th century paths :)), then the main thing that people should remember about me is that I love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and strength, and my neighbor as myself. All other impressions should be secondary and linked to the primary one. For example, if people remember that I want 12 kids because I desire to train them to serve the Lord and take dominion over the earth, then such a lasting impression is not entirely fruitless. Even with such an impression, though, the focus is still on me, and what I have done or would like to do. I should leave people pondering the wonderful things God has done.

It is a hard thing to do, to leave people with this most-important-of-impressions. I have met very few people in my life who truly leave me with this single impression, especially after only a slight acquaintance, and I know I do not come close to this goal. It is so easy, especially in our self-centered society, to turn the attention on myself, rather than the God that created and redeemed me. One girl I met at UGA truly did radiate with the joy of her Savior, and she could not have a conversation that was religiously neutral, not because she overbearingly fit God into every conversation, but because she could not separate her faith from the rest of her life. After spending time with her, I would leave being challenged to seek more heartily after the Lord, not just to immitate her. She truly gave the glory and attention to God, not herself.

How often do I seek to impress others with my knowledge or pious efforts?

Lord, forgive my self-centeredness, and help me to turn the focus on you, who alone deserve all glory, honor, and praise. May I seek to make your name, not mine, famous through all the earth. Amen.
Will You Love Jesus More?

I feel quite sure if I did my best
I could maybe impress you
With tender words and harmony
A clever rhyme or two

But if all I've done in the time we've shared
Is turn your eyes on me
Then I've failed at what I've been called to do
There's someone else I want you to see

Will you love Jesus more
When we go our different ways
When this moment is a memory
Will you remember His face
Will you look back and realize
You sensed His love more than you did before
I pray for nothing less than for you to love Jesus more

I'd like to keep these memories
In frames of gold and silver
And reminisce a year from now
About the smiles we've shared

But above all else I hope you will come
To know the Father's love
And when you see
the Lord face to face
You'll hear Him say "well done"

(Repeat chorus)

- Words and music by Shawn Craig and John Mandeville

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