Thanksgiving is officially on the way! It’s finally November! We will soon arm ourselves with shopping carts in hopes of bagging the perfect turkey. Heads will bow, platters will pass, and tall tales will be repeated for the 25th time. But, before we undo the button on our jeans, I’ve got a few more drops in my personal cloud of witnesses I’d like you to meet.
My family moved to Montgomery late in my fifth grade year. I’d already been to two other schools that year; so long-lasting friendships were not things I understood. Sixth grade allowed me to adjust to new rules and new faces. However, change came yet again when school zoning lines were redrawn, separating me from what few friends I’d made. That’s when my church friends became my security blanket.
Fortunately, God blessed me during those years with a few lifelong friendships. One such friend attended the same junior and senior high schools as me, and through our church connection I got to know her family very well. Her parents, Ed and Jean, became my heroes. No one outside my family had more influence on me than these two.
Ed was a man’s man – athletic, powerful, business-minded, and a church leader with vision. He taught our teen Sunday school class, which was no easy task.
Jean was the hub of her family, and was a true Southern lady who personified the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman. When she taught our Wednesday night girls’ class I admired her talk, but her walk taught me much more.
Individually, Ed and Jean sparked my desire to emulate their passion. However, the Spirit did His best work in them when they were together. Their distinct strengths and weaknesses seemed to interlock like pieces of a magnificent puzzle. As one zigged, the other zagged, and yet somehow they remained in sync.
Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision.” I’ve known those in leadership positions who had no vision, but Ed and Jean were not two of them. When they looked at their church family they saw things other people didn’t see. They saw what their church family could become, and then used their God-given talents to project that vision in high definition. They planned their work and worked their plan.
Your influence may not reach thousands. It may simply be reserved for a child or grandchild. But, make no mistake – you have influence. How will you leverage it for God’s glory?
Look down your life as far as your earthly eyes can see. What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Will you be gracious to those who don’t look like you, act like you, or believe like you? Will you use your money to influence others to become faithful followers? Will your time be used to serve in such selfless ways that you won’t even recognize yourself? Dreams don’t become realities without spending time in the Word and in prayer. When you do, you’ll begin to dream big dreams. Risky dreams. Dreams that can’t be turned into reality without God’s help.
Then, who knows? Maybe one day after you’ve gone to be with Jesus, someone who benefited from your vision will struggle at her computer searching for words good enough to say thank you one more time.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20