Two years ago, I lost a friend who was only 40 years old.
Michael was our church’s former youth minister. He had such a passion for life and for young people.
He talked their language. He hung with them. He joked with them, and even cried with them. He was always there when they needed him. It didn’t matter what time it was. Michael was there.
He was on fire for God. He actually gave his first sermon at age 16, so he had been serving the Lord for 24 years.
His funeral was broadcast over the Internet and hundreds of people who couldn’t attend tuned in to hear the tributes and take part in the celebration of a life well-lived. He had been a youth minister at seven different churches throughout the southeastern United States so his impact was far reaching.
In fact, at the celebration of his life, they asked people to stand if Michael had led you to the Lord, or if you had entered the ministry because of his influence. It was amazing to see how many people were touched by this man.
I’m sure he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when he entered heaven.
Michael’s life got me thinking. Am I doing enough to serve the Lord? Am I using the talents that God gave me to advance His Kingdom? Am I making any kind of impact?
Michael sure had an impact on hundreds, if not thousands, of students. And probably several hundred more adult workers who served along side of him. My wife and I were blessed because Michael had a tremendous influence on our three children. He strengthened their walk and helped give them a solid foundation as they entered adulthood.
During this Thanksgiving time, I’m thankful for the people that influenced my life. And the lives of our children. It seems so empty to just say, “thank you”. But it’s a start.
So, thank you, Michael.
So as Thanksgiving approaches, let’s all take the time to say thanks to those people, near and far, who had such an influence of us. Perhaps we can all vow to live a more impactful life, utilizing those talents we were given to bring others to Christ.