Remember that old holiday classic movie where the main character is taken on a tour and shown what everyone else’s life, that is all those who had been influenced by his life, would have been like had he never been born?
I was thinking about my salvation experience the other day and that made me think of my Uncle Wilburn, under who’s preaching one Sunday morning in 1968, I answered that knock on my heart’s door and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My Uncle Wilburn was an influence on my life before that day though. I didn’t know it then, but realize now that he could ill afford the gas money or the ice cream money, but nevertheless, he would come to pick up my sister and me on Sunday mornings and take us to Sunday school and Church services at the little country church where he pastored. Then, on the way home, he would stop and get us an ice cream cone from the Tastee Freeze. That was quite a treat for two little girls like us and I still remember his kindness and his influence on my life after all these years. It’s been about a year now since Uncle Wilburn went to be with his Lord and I can’t remember now if I ever told him, and thanked him for, the influence he had on my life. And I was wondering……what would my life have been like if Uncle Wilburn had never been born-AGAIN?
And, I guess we could go further back than that, and ask what would his life have been like if his mother, my paternal granny, had never been born-again? My granny had 10 children – 5 boys and 5 girls. All 5 boys were or are preachers of the Gospel. But what if she hadn’t made the decision to accept Jesus one evening at an old brush harbor tent revival? And what if the traveling preacher who influenced her decision that day had not been born-again?
Of course, we will never know the answers to these questions, and I am SO glad we won’t. But, isn’t it an awesome thing to think of how one ordinary, not-famous and not-rich, person can have so much influence on so many lives? Sometimes I think the devil likes to convince us that we aren’t qualified to influence anyone else. We may think that just because we are not pastors or evangelists or well educated professors or teachers or great speakers or writers etc. that we don’t have a role to play in influencing the lives of others. But that is an obvious lie!
I have daydreams sometimes of going to Heaven, either in the Rapture or when I die. And I like to think about what it will be like. I daydream of seeing That Face for the first time – the face of Jesus. And I dream of what it will be like to see and talk to people like my Uncle Wilburn and many others again. And I dream of how much fun it will be to check out my new mansion that Jesus has spent so much time preparing just for me. I love the woods more than any place on this earth and I daydream about how much more wonderful the sights and the smells and the sounds of the outdoors will be in Heaven. I imagine how much clearer and more beautiful the running creek water will look. And I daydream of someone tapping me on the shoulder and saying “Hey, aren’t you Sandy Howard? You’re the one who said that thing or did that thing that influenced me to accept Jesus!” WOW! Now, that would be the icing on the eternal cake wouldn’t it?