Years ago I went to a prayer seminar taught by my mentor and close friend, Dr. Morris Weigelt. He asked the group of us to recall the people in our lives who had influenced us the most. Names filled the chalkboard as we fondly recalled a wide range of people who had made a lasting impact on our lives.
Then he asked us why these people had been so influential. What was it about them that left such a deep and permanent effect on us? Again, the chalkboard was filled with reasons.
When they had all had been listed, we looked at them as a whole. To my surprise, there was not a single “professional” ability on the board. No one had been considered influential because they were intelligent or talented or specially capable in some way.
Why had the long and varied list of people been so influential in our lives? All the reasons boiled down to only one: we had each been the most deeply influenced by the persons who had cared about us, who had taken a personal interest in us. The people who changed us most profoundly were those who made us feel valued, respected, and loved. It was the people who had cared about us, not just in word, but by giving of themselves actively, personally, individually, unselfishly. They had said to us by their actions, “You are special! I believe in You!” And because they said it with their actions, we believed them.
Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to have a lasting impact on some person’s life, and therefore on our world as a whole? Go out of your way to give someone your personal attention. Love – active, sincere, sacrificial love – is still the greatest force for bringing change, blessing, joy, and new life to our world. If you want to make an investment that will pay off, invest yourself in people. Invest yourself in love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…God is love. (1 John 4:7-8, NASB)