The Lasting Impact of Godly People

Focusing on things that last.


AS MY TWO oldest boys and I were preparing for a mission trip with my church to Jamaica this past year I couldn't help but get swept up in the logistics of it all.

How would we get all our supplies to Montego Bay?
How much would everything cost?
How long will it take to get a passport?

The fifteen of us planning to go held monthly meetings to discuss these questions and more. And as the days went on, I wanted the whole thing to be over.

Don't get me wrong; I wanted to go and serve. It would be my first foreign mission trip. But it all seemed too complicated and nebulous, and I began to wonder if the whole thing was even worth it. I mean, how much impact could fifteen unskilled Oklahomans make in five days' time?

You could chalk a portion of my sentiments up to angst from the unknown. But another part was simply fatigue. Working full-time while enrolled in graduate school and trying to raise children had left a toll on my psyche. I wanted to get on the plane, do my thing, and come back home and go to bed.

But as the trip neared and the planning got ever more serious, we gathered at one meeting to pray. And in that moment, my pastor prayed something that cut through my jaded attitude. He said something to this effect, "May we remember that our work in Jamaica will impact eternity."

In that moment I felt a swell of emotion as the Holy Spirit reminded me why I was there. If was as if he were whispering in my ear, "That's why you're going on the trip, Andrew. To have an eternal impact."

I knew as much all along in the back of my mind, but I had lost sight of the trip's purpose for want of clarity or convenience or respite—I'm not sure exactly what. But of course, he was right, I thought. If the Spirit saved even one soul as a result of Calvary Baptist's work in Jamaica, then it would be worth all the effort. It would be worth the thousands of dollars spent on travel and supplies, and it would be worth all the time sacrificed filling out paperwork and planning.

In Job 8, Bildad describes the fate of those who "forget God" (Job 8:13). He says such people are like lush plants that spread quickly and flower beneath the sun. But without a water source they will wither away. And if such a person "is destroyed from his place," he continues, "then it will deny him, saying, 'I have never seen you.' Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the soil others will spring" (Job 8:18-19).

He who forgets God will live for himself. He might flourish and prosper for a while, but his impact will be short-lived. Upon his death, even his own community will deny having known him. Such is the irony of a life without a focus on eternity. A man or woman's joy on earth will dissolve to nothingness and others will occupy their place like a plant springing up from the compost of their lives.

Those who keep their eyes on eternity, though, will have a lasting impact beyond this earth. Such is the legacy of the godly. This isn't about our own glory or fame, but the impact of God's people.

I have no idea how God will use our little mission trip. I don't use "little" to be derogatory, but realistic. In the grand scheme of things  a 12-person operation in a remote area of a Caribbean island is a tiny operation.[1]

But I do know these types of activities have the ability to transcend our material existence. The physical world as we know it will dissipate into nothingness, just like a plant without water withers away. Meanwhile, obedience to God has an influence that will last forever.

One way to remain obedient to God is by knowing his will through reading your Bible and through prayer. If you've struggled to establish good devotional habits, you might find my guide useful.

This guide lays out a step-by-step process you can follow to establish healthy quiet time habits. When you do, you'll grow closer to God, and I can promise you'll consider the time well spent.

How to Establish a Habit of Daily Quiet Time with God is free if you want it. It will only cost you your email address, but you can unsubscribe from the list at any time with one click. Just enter your email address below, and I'll send the reading guide your way.


1. A few of us had to stay behind because of health issues.

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