Lasting Impact

Last month, we had the opportunity to travel to the East Coast to see Luke’s brother and his fiancé along with my brother and his family and to visit the sites in Washington DC.  One of the highlights was our tour of the White House.  While walking through the Visitor’s Center before the tour, we came across a display with the pictures, names, and terms of all the U.S. Presidents.  After a few attempts at racking his brain for facts learned in elementary school, my brother-in-law was able to name them all in order.  I, however, found myself to be very unfamiliar with many of the names.  And, I was struck by the fact that I knew little to nothing about the lives and accomplishments of these most well-known men of their time.  I have no doubt my current life was impacted by each of them, but to what degree and how, I am very uncertain. It brings to mind a verse, “What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).  I remembered again that this is true for me and for all people, no matter how great they are or how memorable their accomplishments, save one—Jesus.    

In the early 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as saying, “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world, there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but on what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love, and at this hour, millions of men would die for him.”   This statement was true then and remains so today.  And, not only are there still millions who would die for him, but Jesus remains recognized as the most influential man who has ever lived.  Why? 

In a short writing titled “One Solitary Life,” Fred Bock goes deeper into this question:  “Born in an obscure village, He was the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty years old, and then for three years He traveled around the county, stopping long enough to talk and to listen to people, and help where He could.  He never wrote a book, He never had a hit record, He never went to college, He never ran for public office, He never had a family or owned a house. He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.  But, when He was only thirty-three years old, the tide of public opinion turned against Him, and His friends rejected Him. When He was arrested, very few wanted anything to do with Him. After the trial, He was executed by the State along with admitted thieves. Only because a generous friend offered his own cemetery plot was there any place to bury Him. This all happened twenty centuries ago, and yet today, He is the leading figure of the human race and the ultimate example of love. Now, it is no exaggeration to say that all the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever set sail, all the rulers that have ever ruled, all the kings that have ever reigned on this earth, all put together have not affected the life of man on earth like One Solitary Life.”  Again, we ask, “Why?”

My answer:  Because, out of His loving-kindness (which is exemplified most fully in His laying down of His life to pay the penalty we deserve for our sins), Jesus saves souls!  No one else can do that.  He saved mine, just as He has saved multitudes in centuries past and just as He will save multitudes more in the future. For this reason, it’s no wonder to me that Jesus is the most influential person in history, and there’s no question in my mind that He always will be.  Those who have experienced God’s soul-saving grace will never stop praising Him, giving their lives to follow Him, and sharing the joy they have found in Him with others so they too can experience it! And, as those who hear of Him seek Him also, the number of people whose lives are changed by Him will only grow, because no matter how ugly one’s past may be, Jesus will never turn away a person who calls on His name and trusts in Him to be saved (Romans 10:13).  Thus, His influence on the human race will only multiply, and the praises given to Him will only increase.  

For those reading this who aren’t so sure about Jesus, or your soul, or your need for a “Soul Saver,” I pray this post would encourage you to consider Him, the reasons He has been so influential in the lives of others across centuries, cultures, and countries, and the potential impact He could have on your life as well.  

For those reading this who consider themselves a child of God, saved by Christ alone, I pray the words of this post would encourage you to point others boldly and eagerly to the One who saved you—recounting all He has done and sharing His love with those around you.   We may only be remembered by a few and likely only by those few for a short amount of time this side of heaven.  But, by directing people to Jesus— the one and only “Soul-Saver” and the greatest influencer in history—you can share the gift of life that, if accepted, will send ripples into eternity and will never be forgotten!

By Katie Miller

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