Some people have left an enormous impact on my life. Their mark can be seen with a casual glance. These are people like mom and dad, Dan, Ben, Mark, and Kyle, to name a few.
Other people have left an impact on me, and I do not know their name and often, exactly what they did. In October of 1995, I attended a Promise Keepers conference that helped inspire me to stay in ministry. At one point in the event, they invited preachers to the front of the auditorium to pray for them. As I went to the front with other pastors, the place erupted with thunderous applause. When I got to the front, I wept. It was one of the few times in my life that people seemed to appreciate me as a pastor. That moment kept me preaching through a difficult season in ministry over the following year. It motivated me when I was ready to quit about 13 years later. The sound of 50,000 men clapping for me, and those who serve alongside me was powerful.
I don’t know the names of any of the people in the crowd that night. I was there with two men, and one of them was from out of town, and I cannot remember his name. Then I get to thinking about all the other people involved in that event. Some people set up and ran the sound. Others built the staging for the speakers and musicians. Someone booked the arena and made sure everyone got paid for their efforts. This one scene of my life was put together by dozens of people serving the Lord in one way or another. They were just random people trying to make a difference.
This is precisely why God wants us to keep serving him even when we do not see immediate returns on our labor. We never know the amount of good we do with our lives. We will never know the impact we make on this side of heaven. God knows. And he understands what we are doing. He takes our efforts, no matter how small they may seem, and makes an impact for his kingdom.
Last weekend I watched a young woman come to faith; part of that is the result of a person who remains nameless, helping to create a moment that would help me to get here to share the message of Jesus with her. The ripple of their life washed over me, and it continues to move until we all reach the shore of eternity. What kind of waves are you making?