It’s interesting to see what people will write about you when you don’t know they’re writing it.
For example, a few months ago, I finally decided to get online and see what this “Legacy” that my family keeps mentioning is all about. While I was blown away by the number of fantastically written articles and podcasts that I saw (not that I’m biased), what struck me as the most interesting was what my family had written about me in the “About” section.
For those of you who have only heard about me from this short snippet, most of what was said is true. I will point out two flaws in this paragraph, however. The first is that I am not the perfect “preacher’s kid” model that I’m built up to be. I still have major faults and sympathize with my worldly friends more than some might believe. The second is that I am 13 no longer, having turned 16 this past March. [Editor’s note: Whoops!]
This personal realization regarding what those closest to me decided I should look like to the world reminded me that every person carries with them some level of influence on those around them. In a way, this is God’s mode of communicating to us that we are all alike and are made to coexist peacefully, a fact that many in today’s world would deny altogether if totally honest.
However, this coexistence can also cause a great deal of chatter. When someone does something that is deemed significant, we want to talk about it. Hence, both Facebook and Twitter have hundreds of millions of users worldwide. Although the public announcement of an event, especially an impactful one, is sure to garner some attention, it is also true that some of the greatest stories about a specific person are told without their knowledge.
I’m a history geek, so I have experienced this fact firsthand. Without getting into the ongoing debates about the causes of World War I, the truth of the downfall of the Olmecs, and how involved E. T. was in the construction of the pyramids, I would call attention to one historical figure who many still talk about today. Paul, the apostle of Christ, is credited as the writer of several letters addressed to several churches of the first century. While Paul probably believed (and hoped) that his letters would be read some time into the future, it is doubtful that he had prior knowledge regarding every published commentary or speech given on his material. Whether his writings would be acclaimed or criticized by each individual member of his audience, the author had no idea.
All of this serves to bring to my mind the fact of OUR impact. Any letter any of us writes will probably never gain as much traction as those of Paul, but we still influence those close to us. This is both fantastic and frightening because, as we all know, even Christians are still human. While we are flawed, we can still choose to love those around us enough to make an impact and help them find both their way and their Way. Often, the decision to love the lonely kid down the hallway, or even a close friend, is a struggle. When I remember the impact that my Savior made for me, though, it’s no contest.
Matthew 5: 16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
AUTHOR: Lucas Tatum