What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?
“I’m here because of you.”
John said that to me as we stood together before a morning church service where he regularly leads worship.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I’m here because of you,” he said again. “I’m in ministry because of you. You were speaking at a conference when I was just a new Christian. You invited us to say yes to God’s will. I did. That’s why I’m here in ministry today. Thank you.”
“Thanks, John…I didn’t know that. Thank the Lord!” I replied.
That event had taken place nearly 20 years ago. I had no idea what the Lord had done in John’s life while I invited people to step into God’s destiny for them, but his story made my week.
Justin, who was our first youth pastor at ChristLife and now is a great pastor and coach, recounted a time when he’d been severely criticized after helping lead a youth event. He said, “I was upset and discouraged. You listened to me and told me you believed in me and stood with me. I remember it like it was yesterday because your encouragement meant so much to me.”
I had not remembered that conversation, yet it had been a difference-maker for Justin.
For better or worse, we get remembered for the lasting influence of our words and actions in other people’s lives.
Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that our words have the power of life and death. Proverbs 10:20 and 15:1,2,4 also reinforces the importance of what we say and do.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I have painful memories of the words and decisions people made that left negative effects on me for a long time. I’m still healing from some of those incidents.
I also have memories of words of blessing, encouragement and destiny others have spoken into my life…of decisions that were made that lifted me and helped me step into God’s destiny for my life. The stories of people like John and Justin remind me what a powerful influence our words and actions can be…with long lasting impact!
Here’s five things I want to be remembered for…
1. My perspective: seeing every person through God’s eyes…created in His image, of infinite worth to Him. When we see people through His eyes, we know that all things are possible with Jesus.
2. Seeing potential in every person...seeing what could be…believing God has a special destiny for them. Every person has a longing to fulfill the Lord’s divine purpose for them…help them see it!
3. Giving invitation and permission…inviting people to step into God’s destiny for them…His will is always best! Sometimes people need our faith-filled permission to take their own steps of faith.
4. Speaking positive words that honor people…emphasizing and building on qualities I saw in them that God wanted to strengthen. “I see in you…I believe in you…” can be life changing because it allows people to see themselves as God sees them.
5. Being a man of peace and blessing to people… even when you have to deal with problem issues, you can do it in a way that calls people upto God’s best instead of just calling them out and putting them down. Elevate, don’t humiliate.
We don’t always get to hear the stories of the impact we’ve had on others, but we have lasting influence just the same. What do you want to be remembered for? What lasting influence do you want to have?
When it comes having influence “for better or worse”, choose better. Choose best…choose to bless.
Coach Yourself Forward
1. Think of a time when someone spoke destiny into your life. What difference did it make? If you can, contact that person and thank them. Tell them the story of the influence they made for you!
2. How do you “see” people? Your first impressions affect your verbal expressions! Ask the Lord to help you see people through His eyes.
3. How well do you speak positive words and give permission to others? What can you do to strengthen those areas in your life? Make it a matter of prayer…then a matter of practice!