WHAT KIND OF IMPRINT DO YOU LEAVE ON OTHERS?
I wrote the words “Email Larry” on the palm of my hand. You see, I’m a list gal. If it doesn’t get put on a list, it doesn’t have very good odds of getting done. And occasionally, if I’m away from home and yet need to remember something, I’ll write it on my hand. Because I was helping at Vacation Bible School at our church, I didn’t have any handy post-it notes available, but I did locate a pen. So, “Email Larry” was temporarily tattooed on my palm.
As the worship team closed out the evening in our ministry center, I leaned up against the wall with my hands behind my back, palm side to the wall. When the night was over, I regained an upright stature away from the wall and noticed an interesting thing. There on the wall where my palm was resting were the words “Email Larry.” Yep…black ink, clear as day…only backwards. You might think I felt some sort of embarrassment or remorse for inadvertently “writing” on the wall. But no, I felt none of that. I actually got a kick out of it and chuckled to myself. I thought, “Wow…after hanging out with (or more precisely ‘on’) the wall, I left a lasting imprint on it.” If a super-sleuth wanted to find the guilty party who left that imprint on the wall, all they’d have to do is go around checking people’s palms. The evidence would point right to me.
That got me thinking. In the real world of relationships, friendships, meetings, acquaintances, family dynamics, work connections, and church contacts, what kind of imprint do I leave on others? Have I left any “stamp” behind that proves I hung out with these folks? Did I leave any “inscription” on the wall of their heart? And if so, was it positive or negative? Was it worldly or godly?
I’m reminded of the story of John Geddie, missionary to the New Hebrides (a tribe of Cannibals) in the South Pacific. In his 24 years there, churches were built, schools established, children trained, and godly homes built. The island where Geddie lived and worked became a center from which light radiated to the other islands. He died at the young age of 58. A memorial was placed in the church where he worked which stated, “When he landed in 1848 there were no Christians here, and when he left in 1872 there were no heathen.”
Wow! That’s what I call leaving a lasting imprint. That’s a stamp that proves Geddie hung out with these people. He most certainly left an inscription on the walls of their hearts. And there was plenty of evidence to prove it.
I ran across a poem that sums up this idea in the most beautiful way. You may have heard it before, but it’s worth re-reading.
Whatever our hands touch – we leave fingerprints!
On walls, on furniture, doorknobs, dishes, books – there’s no escape!
As we touch we leave our identity.
Oh God, wherever I go today, help me leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion, of understanding and love,
Heartprints of kindness and genuine concern.
May my heart touch a lovely neighbor, or a runaway daughter
or an anxious mother, or perhaps even a friend.
Lord, send me out today to leave heartprints.
And if someone should say “I felt your touch,”
May that one sense YOUR LOVE
Touching them through ME!
What imprint are you making on others? What kind of stamp are you leaving behind after hanging out with people? What sort of inscription are you leaving on the wall of others’ hearts?