One of my favourite quotes is found in John Maxwell's excellent book, Developing the Leader Within You. Where he quotes J. R. Miller;
"There have been meetings of only a moment which have left impressions for a life, for eternity. No one can understand that mysterious thing we call influence, either to heal, to bless, to leave marks of beauty; or to wound, to hurt, to poison, to stain other lives."
Each one of us influences other people, we leave 'impressions' in the lives of people we encounter every day, whether we're aware of it or not. The question is always what kind of influence will we have?
Recently I had the privilege and pleasure to spend the day with Gordon MacDonald, hearing him speak at two different events but also spending time with him as we travelled in between. I gained much from hearing Gordon speak at these events but also learned as much in the moments in between.
One of those moments was first thing in the morning, as Jean (my wonderful wife) and Ethan (my 9 year old boy) gave us a lift to the train station. During that journey (which only took five minutes) Gordon connected with Ethan in such a way as to leave an impression on him that I'm sure he will remember. He took time to speak to, ask questions of and show interest in him. This seventy seven year old man could have got in the car, focused on the day ahead and the teaching that he had to deliver. He could have given a polite hello and left it at that, but he didn't.
What I discovered about Gordon is that he loves people and not just with words. But in action. He knows that he will influence people every day, that he will leave impressions in the lives of the those he meets, no matter how brief that meeting may be. It was in spending time with him that I discovered how intentional he is to leave 'marks of beauty' and I came away wanting to do the same. How about you?