This past Sunday, our church celebrated the retirement of our pastor. He has been in the ministry for 44 years and had been with our church specifically for nearly thirty years.
As part of the celebration, people from his former churches as well as family and friends from the past wrote letters and traveled to let him know how Pastor had impacted their lives.
In fact, during one part of the celebration, those who came were asked to stand if Pastor had affected their lives in one of several key ways. Then, our pastor and his wife were able to look around and see an entire church full of people whose lives they had positively impacted throughout their life's work.
Most people don't get to see a lifetime's worth of friends and family this side of heaven. Of course, people will come to funerals to pay respects, but I would venture to say that most people don't get to witness such a powerful celebration of their lives.
But, I've thought about this before. Have you? Have you wondered what kind of impact you have really made on people? Have you wondered what kind of legacy you will leave?
I realize I am only in my mid-30s and it is probably maudlin to think this way. But I still wonder, especially now that I am an at-home mother. I don't come into contact with as many people. A Pastor - well that really does put you at the center of people's lives during all kinds of joys and sorrows. That is the kind of job that can have a huge impact when people are most vulnerable.
Please don't misunderstand. I realize being an at-home parent is important and I am impacting my children's lives. I just wonder sometimes what kind of impact I have on others "out in the world" beyond my front yard. Have any of you wondered the same?