My wife and I went on a trip just a few weeks ago and it happened to take down roads that we once traveled years ago. Those roads we were rolling over provided us with hours of conversation and recollections of many memories. We recalled experiences that we shared as a young married couple starting out together, and people we met along our way. Traveling through Indiana we remembered our time of me attending Bible school and preparing for the ministry, and our first church at which I was a youth pastor. We enjoyed ourselves reminiscing over the places and people that helped shape our lives for ministry. Two persons came to mind as I was driving through central Indiana. Both men helped shape me spiritually and philosophically for ministry. One man was the person God used to get me into college to prepare for ministry, Dr. Seaborn. There is not a week that has gone by in my ministry when his face and voice has not spoken to me. A gifted speaker and a good friend, I aspire to be like him still. God used him to draw me into discovering what ministry is really about,... relationship with God. Helping people establish and grow a relationship with God through the Word that was deep and profound. He helped me realize that ministry isn't so much a profession as it is a lifestyle. He also taught me that when it comes to the grace of God that Christendom is just scratching the surface and that we are in need of God's grace and that holiness is dependent on how much access we give God to our life.
Dr. Smith was the other man who had a profound impact upon me. He always seemed to have a smile on his face when I walked into Theology class. He had a way of being able to explain the deep and sometimes unfathomable topics into understandable and approachable ones. He took time to discuss with this young wanna be minister the finer points of theology that we couldn't take the time in class to investigate. These men were my mentors and my friends. I am, in part, who am as a minister and a follower of Jesus because of them. And as I thought about them traveling down those roads once traveled I thought about my life. I felt my eyes well up with tears as I thought of these great men. They weren't perfect and like all of us they made mistakes and without a doubt wrong choices at times in their lives. They, like so many of us, worked too much, gave way to their emotions, but always pursued God and His forgiveness and learned from their willfulness. Then the thought came around to me and my life. Who am I pouring into? What am I learning from my life and ministry? Am I influencing others coming after me to live in pursuance of God? When someone travels back down the roads they once did, will they remember me as an influence for God in their life?
We all touch lives, each and every day. How, and for what reason we touch them varies, but there can exist a constant variable in our connection with others and that is to let them experience Jesus in us. People don't need to see human perfection, but they do need to see our human imperfections transformed and diminished by the presence of Jesus working in our lives. The roads you travel today with others will be traveled once again by you or those who traveled alongside you at that time; what will be remembered? I realize that I am not perfect. There are times when I make stupid decisions and let my emotions get the best of me, but every day I choose not to give in and give up. Every day I make the choice to pursue Jesus. Every day I consider the life God has called me to and choose it over anything else. Every day I pray that God will use me to touch others as a travel these roads of my life.
What about you? How has your travels been lately? Who have you encountered along the journey? What will be remembered if you or they travel the roads once traveled already?