Imprints

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When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

A couple of years ago, while doing some ministry in a small church in Oregon, I was sitting while being introduced by a young pastor before I was to stand and preach. As I looked up on their platform I watched this young pastor welcome those who were new and encourage those regular attenders with words found in the Scriptures. As He concluded his welcome and introduction, just before he sat down I noticed that on the outside of the right hand pocket of his blue denim jeans there was a rectangular mark, an imprint exactly the size of a current cell phone. It seemed obvious to me, as I saw the definite and permanent outline, that this pastor carried his cell phone in that pocket and that he had done so with some regularity over time. This was a person who for better or worse seemed tethered to his technology.

We live in an age where the technology available has allowed us to connect with others far more easily than in ages past, and most of the adult population has some form of mobile telephone service. This is not a comment on the benefits or hazards of technology. What I am interested in are the things we allow to be imprinted upon our lives. That small rectangular mark on my friend’s denim jeans communicated something. His phone was with him most of the time and was a part of his daily engagement with the world.

When the two disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, were brought before the religious leaders to account for their actions in healing a lame man they spoke and acted in a manner that revealed something about their lives. They spoke and acted in a manner that indicated they had been with Jesus. Like the imprint on the pocket of those jeans, time spent with Jesus had left a noticeable and permanent mark on their hearts and ultimately their lives.
They were unschooled and ordinary, like well-worn blue jeans, but the outline of Jesus was easily visible in the way they lived and the words they spoke.

This kind of imprint didn’t happen because they heard about Jesus, or saw him once from a distance. They were deeply marked by Him because they had walked intimately with Him, listened attentively to Him and set the course of their lives by His words and by His ways. They followed Jesus in faith while He was with them on earth and continued to follow Him in faith as he guided them and empowered them through the Holy Spirit. Through exposure to His person, and His words and actions expressing infinite love, they were forever influenced, and continued to manifest His presence in their lives and relationships. The result is that the good news of Jesus was expressed in them and through them wherever they went.

I realize that for most of us we are constantly determining the way we will spend our time. For many of us the temptation to immerse ourselves in the technology of a hand held device is great. But I want to suggest that regular consistent and disciplined time spent with Jesus, following His words and ways, enjoying His presence and growing in intimacy with Him leaves an imprint on our lives that is eternally beneficial to our lives and this world. When you look at your life, what things are leaving the greatest mark? What influences are being imprinted on you and how are the manifestations of those influences of eternal benefit to your life and this world? It may be time to notice the imprints, the things leaving visible outlines on your heart and life.


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