What Impact Will Your Life Have on Others?

Published 9:33 am Monday, January 10, 2022

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Like millions of other Americans, Gale and I had the privilege of taking a road trip to visit family during the holiday season. As we usually do while we are there, we made a trip to the cemetery where many of my relatives are buried. We had one of our grandchildren with us and I was able to give her a bit of family history as we spent time there reflecting on memories of kinfolk that have long departed from this life. That was probably not the most interesting part of our trip for Addy, but at eleven years old she is old enough to learn a little about her ancestors that she never met. It brought a lot of memories to my mind of time with my grandparents and my great-granddaddy. We lived in the house with my great-granddaddy when I was young so I have quite a few memories of him. And my grandparents were very special to me; I spent much time with them and they had a strong positive impact upon my life.

During our visit through the cemetery, we made our way to a much older section of the burial ground where I took Addy to the grave of my granddaddy’s granddaddy. I know little about him except that he was born in 1859 and died in 1931. I regret that I did not learn more about him from my older relatives before their death. It would be interesting to me to know what life was like in his early days and how he spent his time, but it is doubtful that I will ever know the answers to such questions. Those questions are important to ponder but the bigger question of life should be “What impact will my life have on others?” An event from the early days of Christ offers some direction.

A few days after the birth of Christ, a man named Simeon held the infant Messiah in his arms. Luke 2 gives us a few details about Simeon that we should incorporate into our lives as a positive example to others. Pay attention to how he is described in verse 25: “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him” (New International Version). The full account of Simeon’s encounter with Jesus, Mary and Joseph continues through verse 35, but just focusing on verse 25 alone provides a sparkling pattern for us to pursue.

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One aspect of his life was his righteous devotion to God. That brings us to a couple of personal questions to consider: Did I demonstrate genuine righteousness in the way I lived in 2021? And what changes do I need to make this year to better reflect the righteousness of God in my life?

Simeon also lived with anticipation—he expected the promise of God regarding the birth of Messiah to be fulfilled. May we make every day of 2022 one in which we expect God to fulfill His promises of hope and guidance in our lives.

Along with righteousness and expectation, may we invite the Holy Spirit to be upon us and direct us daily as He did Simeon. Galatians 5:25 reminds us that “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Thinking about relatives from decades past—those we knew and those we did not—should remind us that we must spend our allotted time on earth in a manner that will leave something positive behind that will benefit those who follow. As we have exited the old year and moved into 2022 we would do well to look at the choices and actions we make that can serve as a pattern for others to follow. Let us choose to live 2022 devoted to God, anticipating what He will do as we serve Him, and always allowing the Holy Spirit to empower and enable us.