Lately, I’ve been thinking of what my life has left behind to date. I wonder what lives I’ve touched or how I’ve changed someone’s outlook. It’s a daunting thing to look at the legacy I’m leaving behind.
There’s many things people could say about me. They could mention the obscenely large comic book collection I have. Or they might think about the way I prepared and ran a marathon. Or would they look back and see how hard I worked in the office?
These are all good things. All these things I enjoyed or am proud of. Yet they’re not what I want people to remember me by.
What A Difference You’ve Made
More than any kind of valuable collections, physical accomplishments, or my hard work, I want people to look back and say “Wow, Joe made a difference in my life and the lives of those around him.” Maybe even “Joe loved and valued me.”
Throughout my time as a youth leader, I believe I’ve made this kind of impact. Though Pam and I haven’t been able to have children of our own, the impact we’ve had on our youth students can feel like we have been parents. Students have come up to us and called us mom and dad.
I believe we’ve made a difference in their lives. We’ve shown them they mattered. They know we care for and love them. We’re like parents to them.
This is difference making. This is changing lives. And this is love.
I want to leave this world having made a difference in the lives of those around. I’m trying. I’m doing.
Do you want to make a difference in people’s lives? More than giving them a job or a place to work? You can. You can show them they are special and valuable.
To make a difference:
- Treat people with kindness and respect
- Value them for their skills and abilities
- Give them second chances (third, fourth, and fifth chances too)
- Encourage them with positive words
- Believe in them
- Stand next to them in tough times
- Choose to be a friend
- Listen as they pour out their story
- Lift them up
- Pray for them
- Teach them
- Give them responsibilities
- Challenge their belief in themselves
- Cry with them
- Show them they have your undivided attention
- Love them
Making a difference in the lives of those around you isn’t hard. All you have to do is show them you care. This is what’s going to make a difference.