Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Evidence

Evidence, confirmation, commendation; we want it, we desire it, and often we base so much on it. The response of another toward our work, toward our service, and ultimately toward ourselves is used as a measurement for our impact on this world, on others.

I find myself so often wanting and waiting for that approval, for that acknowledgement that I have made an impact. The response of another tells me that my actions or words didn’t fall lifeless into the chasm of non-influence.

And I find this is a popular need in the world of ministry. We want to know that we impact people’s lives, that the work we do in the name of God is actually making a difference. Be it a pastor who puts his heart into a sermon only to watch his church body shuffle out in silence, or the worship leader who lets his heart go desiring to bring others to a place of real worship only to be met with a silent crowd who sings nothing above a whisper, or maybe even a mentor who seeks to lovingly call another in accountability only to be met with an arrogant response of placing blame, or a friend who shares the story of the gift of salvation with a buddy only to be rebuffed for believing such nonsense, or even a blogger who pours his heart out and lets down the walls in a moment of vulnerability only to receive tepid comments.

So often there are no award ceremonies, no letters of commendation, no pats on the back, and no encouragement or stories of impact. Oh they happen; we’ve all received a note of thanks at one time or another, a short story of how what we did or said changed a person’s way of thinking. But are those what we seek. Can a life be built upon memories of comments and tattered notes? Should they?

I am a big proponent of sharing with others the role they have in your life, the impact they make, the way they change who you are by who they are. And yet, my words, my notes can’t speak to the impact they’ve had on my heart. For all the people I’ve told, there are many more names that have inscribed into my heart their presence in my life. Be it the pastor who I never told moved me to tears with his words of truth, the worship leader who never knew the depth of worship I offered up to God by his leading and example, the friend who I so callously responded to but just by her boldness to call me on something I recognized and changed that part of me, the friends who shared a story of what God has taught them that He used to teach me, or the blog post that I read and yet could not find the words to tell the writer how much they taught me in their openness. So many names, so many people, all who have not received verbal or written commendations from me, but who have written upon my heart, leaving a mark that will last forever.

And so maybe we too are written upon the hearts of others. Maybe we do not have letters of commendation on paper or stone but we have left a mark on something that will not burn to ashes or turn to dust. Maybe when we look out at those we interact with in this world we can’t see our signature, our mark upon them, but hidden within their hearts is a mark left by us at some time.

Maybe what we look for, what is seen, is really only temporary. The commendations, the awards, the words, they are but for a moment, tossed by wind and time. But the people, the hearts, the things that are hidden are the eternal marks we leave.

Maybe the evidence of who we are, of what we do for God, is on those hearts.



Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3: 1-3

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

13 Comments:

Blogger Eddo said...

hmmmm... nice post KT. Love the verses at the end and it made me think that Jimmy McW was just talking about his favorite reading right now is in 2 Corinthians.

And thanks for always taking the time to encourage me. There have been times when I have been down and just a nice note from you has lifted my spirits more than you know.

much love.

8/01/2006 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post. Amen to that sista! ~C

8/01/2006 4:21 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Your mark has been written on my heart. You are a great friend and I am glad that I know you. You have made an immeasureable difference in my life.

:)

Thanks!

8/01/2006 4:46 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Awww KT!!! You are an amazing writer, but most importantly, an amazing woman of God who never hesitates to share her heart with those she loves, and maybe even those she never knew heard her to begin with.

You HAVE to know how much of an impact that you have had on my life in the year that I've known you. If you look back on our posts when we used to challenge one another's hearts, minds, and spirits each and every day with even just one "profound thought for the day", you can see how often I was moved: how many times you wrote upon my heart with your words that seemed to come straight from your heart directly to mine. It ALWAYS seemed that you were speaking ONLY to me (and very often it STILL feels that way), but that's only because that's how personal, how open, and how REAL your thoughts really are.

Thanks for challenging me, girl. You are one amazing friend. :)

8/01/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger Tim Rice said...

I've enjoyed this post and many others of yours. So often I have found out years later that I made a difference in somebody's life that I had no idea of at the time.

Thank you.

8/01/2006 6:53 PM  
Blogger steve said...

I could live in the words of 2 Cor for a long long time....

YOu hit wonderful topics time and again and put the God foot forward

8/01/2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

I am like that too. I look for confirmation or affirmation from others, to know that I made a difference. I mentioned this to someone one time, told them that it is encouraging when people tell me they learned something from me or I touched their heart or something.

My friend replied with "You will affect someone, you will make an impact on lives and you will make a difference to someone. The thing is, you just might not know about it in this lifetime. You might never hear this until you get on the other side. Just don't let that stop you from doing the Lord's work."

8/01/2006 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Jayleigh said...

Katie. Once again, you have nailed some of the same thoughts I was having and didn't really know how to go about expressing them without sounding like I'm griping.

As far as needing that commendation... a dear freind in Christ has always told me that it doesn't matter what THEY do with it, only that your heart was where the Lord wanted it, and that you do His will.

But it's hard for me to watch my hubby deliver an amazing sermon that he's worked all week on, and not see people moved to action. Or know that 4 people who were supposed to participate in worship last week admitted that they just "slept in" because that seemed more important.

Katie, you bless me so much with your words. God is surely using you to make His mark on many, many hearts.

:-)

8/02/2006 6:40 AM  
Blogger Lorie said...

It is truly my hope that one day I will learn that I have affected the lives around me in ways that matter eternally. This is a great encouragement. Thanks!

8/02/2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger Bobby said...

Great thoughts. And the scriptures are very apt.

8/02/2006 1:06 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Katie, Great post! I think we will ALL be amazed when we get to heaven and find out exactly how much impact we had on others. Thinking about that causes me to make more opportunities to share things, because even though the confirmation may never come in this lifetime, it will be there later.

8/02/2006 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Rodd Jefferson said...

As a complete stranger who has just found your site after trawling through good ol' Google, I have to say thankyou.

Your opening remarks drew me in. I am a worship leader, and this topic has been on my heart recently. How do we know we've served a purpose as we pour our hearts out to God before people? The closest I've ever come to a satisfactory answer is the satisfaction I believe God gives when we have sought to be His vessel, and also a confidence that God will use those who are willing to be used.

Interestingly, it seems more likely that God will touch people by things you do just when you least expect it, and this is a reflection of His work flowing deep out of your life and the person that God made you to be. Hence it is my desire to want to look at things the way God does, think about things the way He does, and feel for things the way He does.

KT - thanks for the encouragement from a visitor out of the blue.

8/04/2006 6:48 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I've been thinking a bit about this sort of thing lately ... just discovered your blog, but I think you've inspired a renewed interest in continuing a project I started. You may be interested: http://heroesunsung.blogspot.com

8/05/2006 6:24 AM  

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