In our lives we cross paths with all types of people. There are the ones that leave you with nothing but pleasant memories, inspiration to be a better person, and those who help you in pursuing your dreams. Then, there are those who leave you in pain, desolate of dreams and hope, and nothing but bitter memories of your time within their sphere of influence.
Upon thinking on this subject and a conversation I had with someone I admire and respect, I was reminded of boating. When you go to a lake, you often encounter different types of boats and water sports around you. You have the people relaxing as they softly row along in their canoe, which seems to leave little evidence of its path as it glides along on its course. To some it may go completely unnoticed, although its presence is there. Then, on the other extreme, you have the speed boats. They (recklessly, in some cases) fly across the surface of the lake. They leave an enormous wake that rocks boats, even ones rather far away that they didn’t even pass by. They have left their wake and have rocked all the boats around causing issues to others attempting to follow their course.
Peoples lives are much like this example of boating. You have the “canoes,” the ones who are following the course set before them and leave nothing but smooth water for those who cross their wake, even the little ducklings are safe from harm in their wake. These are the ones who love God and love people. They are the individuals who truly exhibit the heart of God. They leave a wake of peace. They haven’t overturned lives and haven’t even rocked babies in the Lord. But, most importantly, they have left a smooth wake that others can follow behind, the true mark of a true leader and person who exemplifies God’s love.
Then, we have the “speed boats,” the ones who are going along leaving a negative ripple effect. These are the people that blow through life, knocking others out of the way for their own personal fulfillment. Creating a wake of destruction wherever they go. A “little duckling,” wouldn’t be safe in the wake of such a passing. These are the people that overturn lives and cause harm wherever they go, because they have failed to realize the importance of the “wake” you leave in the stream life.
In life, the path we leave behind us is as critically important as the path we follow. If we leave nothing but inflicted hurt and destruction to others’ lives behind us, have we really succeeded in following God’s purpose for our life? I tend to think that is not the mark of success in God’s eyes. Many accumulate wealth, use their wealth to fund the church and ministries, but what is their purpose behind it? Is their purpose truly to aid in winning the lost and helping fulfill the purpose of the church OR is it to manipulate the pastor/leader for their own purposes? Church hopping has become customary and acceptable to many. You feel that you stop growing or the church isn’t going the direction you deemed appropriate for it to go, so you pack up, pull your money, and go down the road. Yet, you don’t realize the devastation you’ve left behind by your immaturity to see things the way God sees them, and to submit where agreement ends. This behavior not only hurts the pastor and his family, but the ripple affect greatly impacts others in the body, even the baby christians, and can overturn those caught in the wake of your destructive behavior.
We are called to live a life of love. A life of GOD’s love working in and through us, not just loving the way we “think” is acceptable, but loving in accordance with God’s commands in His Word. We are to grow up, to move past spiritual “bottles and diapers” and develop into someone who can contribute FULLY to the work of the church. Someone who can get their hands dirty, so to speak, in helping feed and “change the diapers” of the baby christians. Someone who by their wake, is leaving a course for others to follow as they grow and develop.
So, my challenge to you is….. What type of wake will you leave?
Will you leave a wake of destruction?
Or, will you leave a wake of peace and love?
The choice is yours, but the choice should be simple.
Loving people, regardless of title, social standing, economic situations, spiritual maturity or lack of, is our greatest calling and purpose.
1 Timothy 3
1 Cor. 10:23
1 Cor. 13
Loving God. Loving People.