Thursday, December 13, 2012
On many of the old Westerns that used to play on television, one scene was
familiar: The lawman in pursuit of the bad guys would occasionally dismount
his horse to examine the ground. Using skills that few today possess, he
tell how many were in the fleeing party, which way they were heading, and
far ahead they were. He could discern that information by examining their
Such scenes remind us that we're not as invisible as we might wish. Whether
it's our footprints, fingerprints, or some other evidence we leave behind,
who are determined to know can usually find out where we've been. Thinking
about committing the perfect crime? Based on what I see on today's criminal
investigation programs, I wouldn't advise it. Even one hair that you didn't
know fell from your head might be enough to bring about your conviction.
Naturalists have long encouraged those of us who enjoy the outdoors to "take
nothing but pictures, and leave nothing behind but footprints". In more
years, others urge us to do all we can to minimize our footprints. They're
talking about the impact we have on our environment - using less natural
resources whenever possible. And that's not a bad idea. I'd like for my
grandchildren to enjoy the clean air, water and fuels that I have been
Let me now turn your attention to a different kind of "footprint" we might
behind, one that could last for years. When future generations track my
what will they learn?
Peter was preaching to Cornelius and his family when he made this assessment
Jesus' life on earth: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy
and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed
the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). That phrase in the middle of
verse catches my attention: "who went about doing good".
As Peter noted, Jesus could do miraculous deeds, like healing illnesses and
casting out demons. I can't do those things today. But I can surely
Jesus in going about doing good. And that, according to the Bible, is just
God expects of me.
Paul gave instructions to Timothy that apply to comfortable Americans:
those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in
uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to
Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to
share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come,
they may lay hold on eternal life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Doing good, being rich in good works, being ready to give and willing to
how many folks like that do you know? Or, let's turn the question around:
many of the folks we know can say that about you and me? What kind of
footprints are we leaving behind us?
Dorcas seems to have been an ordinary Christian. But her legacy reads like
this: She "was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did" (Acts
9:36). No wonder those mourning her passing were weeping (Acts 9:39); that
of person will be missed.
Let us live a life of service to others. In doing so, we'll be walking in
footprints of Jesus.
Timothy D. Hall
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