Leave Your Fingerprints - iBelieve Truth - February 22, 2024

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“So, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:6

At my father-in-law's funeral, I spoke with many people who told me how much they would miss him. When I turned to sit in my seat, I lifted my hand off the wooden pew ledge. Because the oil on my hand had transferred onto the wood, I saw an impression of my fingerprints on the pew. They stayed there for a little while, then slowly disappeared. As I contemplated what I would share about my father-in-law, I thought about those fingerprints. I then told the crowd about the impression my hand had left on the pew, a visible mark that was not recognized by everyone, but because I saw the impression, my fingerprints were noticeable to me. I encouraged them that when they missed my father-in-law, they should look for his “fingerprints,” or the marks he had left on the people there. Whether it was a kind word or his smile, my father-in-law, a faithful attendee of that church for over 20 years, had impacted many people.   

We all long to make an impact on the world. But often we measure these things by the grandiose gestures that lead us to more popularity, fame, or fortune. But this is not how God measures the impact we make on the world. Our treasures in heaven will be measured not by the large number of crowds we speak to, or the altar calls we initiate, but rather by the small acts, our "fingerprints," given in love to those God loves. It’s when I stop my busy day to listen to a friend who's grieving. It's when I put my arms around a friend and pray for them. It's when I give a tissue to someone who's in deep grief. These are the moments that God honors most. This is where our true treasure lies.

These small acts of love are the fingerprints we leave on the world. When we die, all our money, cars, homes, and other possessions will fade away. They will be given to someone else who will enjoy them or even sell them for personal gain. But it is the impact that I make on the lives of others that will truly matter. These are the fingerprints of my impact on others. 

In this passage in Matthew, the servant let the workers know that it didn’t matter how much one worked over the other. The servant chose to pay the workers the way he deemed fit. So it is with God. We all think the bigger the impact, the more God will honor it. But it is the small, secret acts done in love God honors most. 

Consider the impact you make on others every day. Whether you are a janitor who cleans the bathrooms of a school, a mother who welcomes her day with endless piles of laundry and dirty dishes, or someone caring for a sick relative, these are the gestures God honors. We may not receive much acknowledgment or reward for these things here on earth, but in heaven we will be rewarded greatly. 

On earth, we measure impact and success based on how many social media followers we have, how much money is in our bank account, or how many people like us. But if we examine the example of Jesus, we find that's not true success at all. By the end of his life, Jesus had no one while he was dying on the cross. His friends had betrayed him, Peter had denied him, and John was the only disciple who even came to see him on the cross. By the world's definition, Jesus was the most unsuccessful person in the history of the world. He was scorned, battered, and betrayed based on accusations that weren't even true. No one in the world would see him as a success. 

But God did. 

Who does God want you to make an impact on today? In what way can you leave your fingerprint on the world in small but generous ways? When we redefine our definition of success, we understand that success is not measured by how many people like us, but rather who loves us unconditionally. 

Father, help us to understand the truth that success means putting ourselves last. The small acts of kindness and generosity we spread to the world are the treasures by which we store up in heaven. Lord, help us add to our treasures by not putting ourselves in the limelight, but placing ourselves behind the scenes in acts of servanthood. May God be glorified in all we do. Amen.  

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

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Originally published Thursday, 22 February 2024.