Impact as our idol

Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of days; let me know how fleeting my life is.  You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.  Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.  Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.  But now, LORD, what do I look for?  My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:4-7 (NIV)

More than anything in my life, I want to leave an impact on others.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve desired for people to know they were loved by me and had a friend in me.  I often think about things like, “If I died today, who would come to my funeral?  What would they say about me?”  That might be morbid, but that’s how deeply I wish to impact the lives of those around me… to the point of my legacy impacting people, too.

Many – if not all – can relate.  We desire to live for something bigger than ourselves, to live an altruistic life that changes the world for the better.  If we don’t leave a mark, then we feel like our life was meaningless.

But what I’ve learned recently is there’s a difference between seeking impact because the world needs it and having impact because it spills from the intimacy you have with The Father.

My church has been learning about God through the story of Moses in Exodus the past few weeks.  In a sermon recently, my pastor talked about the impact Moses had on the world.  Here’s what I mean: he is the most widely read and influential authors in the history of the world; he wrote the first 5 books of the Old Testament, which is read by two prevalent world religions, Christianity and Judaism, over the majority of human history.  He’s one of the most successful abolitionists, freeing millions of slaves from Egypt.  And because of his prayer intercession on behalf of his people, he changed the future of all the Israelites, saving the coming generations from separation from God’s presence, protection and provision.

Let me shoot it straight: Moses didn’t have impact because he chased after impact.  God didn’t use Moses because of his leadership, knowledge, strategy or passion, either. God chose Moses because Moses stopped at nothing to seek intimacy with The Father.

“Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” -Exodus 33:11 (NIV)

 Hold up.  So this means God doesn’t look for the strongest, fastest, ‘most qualified for the job’ human to accomplish his purposes?  Nope.  As we can see from Moses’ story, God looks for the obedient, the pure in heart, the ones who know God like he knows a friend.

What can we take away from this?

Reflect on this… It’s easy to get caught up in WHAT Moses accomplished instead of what Moses DID that made the impact.  Moses knew there was a huge need for change.  God knew that, too.  Instead of taking matters into his own hands, Moses consistently postured himself in front of God and asked for his direction, his provision and his presence. 

“Then Moses said, ‘If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.  How will anyone know that you look favorably on me – on me and on your people – if you don’t go with us?  For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”  -Exodus 33:15-16 (NIV)

So take a deep breath -- we can stop the striving to make our mark before we leave this place and rest knowing impact is inevitable when God is our Shepherd.

Let’s retrain our minds to seek Jesus instead of impact.  Repent for all the times we’ve made impact our idol, and step into the journey of drawing near to the One who makes all things new.

Maddy // @__maaaddy

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