I just got the following e-mail form one of the teens who left youth group a couple years ago because their family moved. She said this:
I bet you don't even remember me. Since getting in loads of trouble a few years back, I have made a complete turnaround. I graduated from high school near the top of my class, and am now on a scholarship to the University of Florida. I wanted to tell you how much of an influence you have made on me, you sorta inspired me to pursue my nursing degree. I am working now part time for goodwill, and I have a 4.0 gpa in college.
Well thanks for everything, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Interestingly, I remember this girl very well, but I never had a whole lot of interaction with her beyond youth group meetings. Even at those meetings we never had many chances to talk one-on-one, but I've always been nervous about how her life is heading.
To know that my life has made this kind of impact, even indirectly, is the best Christmas present I've gotten this year. I've always considered my volunteer activities to be the most meaningful thing I've done in my life, far exceeding anything I've done at work.
If you've ever wondered whether volunteering or focusing a life on helping individuals can really make a difference, this e-mail makes it pretty clear that when you positively influence a life for God, it can change that life completely.
God can do some amazing things through us. He can do so much more in a life than we can ever know.
So, what are you doing this year to influence lives? I'm re-evaluating that myself right now.