I’ve heard it said that you always leave an impact on the people around you, whether you try to or not. Your influence, whether great or small, good or bad, is inevitable. If you are doubtful, just think of all the people you’ve ever met, what your impression of them was, how they influenced your perceptions about them or their families, jobs, or churches. We are relational beings, and so our interactions with other humans will always shape us and others in some way or another.
One of the hot topics of the 21st century is “carbon footprint”. It’s a term used to describe the burden we place on nature by our use of the natural resources given to us. The goal is to reduce our carbon footprint and live as responsibly as possible. And, as much as I don’t lean towards extremes, we Christians should be mindful of the environment, since we were commanded – through Adam – to be good stewards of this earth.
However, there is another footprint I would like us to consider: our gospel footprint.
In Romans 10, Paul describes our footprint this way:
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
When you think of all the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis, what is the impact you have on their lives? Are you leaving “footprints” of the gospel everywhere you go? What do your neighbours know about you? Have they seen God’s love through your actions and words towards them?
What does this look like in “real life”? Become friends with your neighbours and show them consistently through your words and actions that they can count on you. Allow them to see you in your good times and hard times, let them see how the joy of the Lord cannot be quenched no matter what the circumstance. Maybe you can frequent the same coffee shop every morning and befriend the staff. Learn and remember people’s names. What about helping out in a soup kitchen and taking the time to talk and listen to the people who come in for a meal? Spontaneously invite someone over for dinner who has had a rough day. Send a note of encouragement to a friend. Attend events in your community. And all the while, let the love of God ooze out of your every pore. Weave your passion for Jesus into every minute of your life.
While we want to ensure that our carbon footprint is small, our gospel footprint should grow larger every day. As we go through life, we have the awesome opportunity to impact people around us for eternity. That’s a thrilling, and a bit scary, thought!
Jesus, in His Great Commission, did not only charge us with this exact task. He also promised to be with us whenever we share the gospel, and He promised His power and boldness, His love and courage through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
So let’s shake off our fears, our inhibitions, indifference, or selfishness, and let’s leave huge gospel footprints for the glory of God, and for the eternal destiny of the people around us.