Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O God Our Help In Ages Past"1 (Lyrics)
It is said that we have only a brief time — minutes or even seconds — to make a good first impression.
That may be true, but it is also true that we are continually making impressions, positive or negative, that last for a long time, perhaps even a lifetime or longer.
In November, when we recognize Remembrance Day, our thoughts turn to memories or stories about the great world wars, during which hundreds of thousands of young men and women unselfishly put the needs of others ahead of their own.
I was too young to give active service in the Second World War, although my two eldest brothers did. But I remember vividly the ration books and the effect that they had on our large family. I was the youngest of six, and my mother's parents also lived with us.
With limits on the amount of sugar that could be purchased, ice cream was a scarce and valued treat. When some became available, it was always insufficient. My mother would serve the rest of us, but she never had any herself. She looked after others in her family in such an unselfish and caring manner that I mistakenly assumed that she didn't like ice cream.
After the war ended, I returned from school one hot afternoon and was totally shocked. My mother was eating a large quantity of ice cream, and she hadn't even taken the time to put it in a dish. She was eating it straight from the container!
While that impression of her unselfishness was over seven decades ago, it remains vividly with me to this day.
When I shared this impression with my daughter, she reminded me of a similar experience with her mother, my wife.
When my elder son obtained his driver's licence, we decided to take a family motor trip from our home in Toronto, Ontario, along the Trans-Canada Highway, to Mile Zero in Victoria, British Columbia.
After the first day's drive to Sudbury, the second day was to Thunder Bay. We stopped for lunch at Wawa, Ontario. Her mother suggested that I take the children with me and walk the few blocks to see the magnificent falls, while she remained and prepared lunch in the back of our station wagon.
We returned with rave reviews of the marvellous site, enjoyed lunch, and then continued with our drive. My wife didn't see the Wawa Falls, but never complained.
My daughter tells me that years later, the impression sank in that her mother was always doing things for others. As a young teenager, she had just assumed that that was normal.
As you and I continue to make impressions, the challenge is to consider whether the impressions that we make are positive or negative. Do our actions put others first?
Perhaps, the best instruction in this connection is what is sometimes considered the "inasmuch" teaching that Jesus gave us:
Matthew 25:40 – And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (NKJV)
May we all be sensitive to the fact that we continually make impressions that last. May we strive to consider others first and make our impressions positive ones.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to follow the example of Jesus and put others ahead of ourselves. May we realize that we are making lasting impressions and that we must do so in Your love. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
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A great challenge, Vincent.
Thanks, Vincent for these examples and lessons.
Thanks for a good reminder Vincent.
Great reminder on this important day. Thank you, Vincent. Blessings!
Thank you, Vincent, for sharing these thoughts with us, to God be the glory. Blessings.
Thank you for this morning’s message. Happy memories of my mom who went without that our eight might be fed. The ice cream part reminded me of sharing those little boxes that had been delivered by feet that ran from the store a mile away to keep the ice cream frozen. No car and no electricity at our house.
Thank you for this devotional and so true again.
You have left a good impression on me with your devotions and in my mind, I have a picture of what you would look like as you share the love of Jesus.
Thank you for writing this very poignant devotional today. A day when we must be so thankful for those who went to war to secure our freedom. It certainly brings to mind “unselfishness” and reflection on those in our life who did unselfish acts and especially the great acts of kindness and total unselfish deeds by our loving Lord.
Your writings are much appreciated.
Our youngest daughter89 recently asked me, “Is it hard for you to throw things away because of the way you were raised?” I was rather proud of myself because I didn’t respond with… “Well, you didn’t have parents who were ‘depression’ people and you were not alive during all the rationing, etc., of World War 11.”
Then, about a month ago a friend and I went on a long-planned cruise of two weeks. I was to cancel my trip because of my husband’s illness. Our children said, YOU ARE GOING, as did my husband. Each child came to spend time with their father.
I hope our children never know a depression or a world war, but there are life-long lessons from such, aren’t there?
Thank you as always for your devotional
Thank you for your devotional today. I agree with you that there is a time and a place to be selfless and put the needs of others before your own. But I think as women we tend to be raised with the expectation that we will care for others that is often to the detriment of our own health and well-being/growth and development.
There came a time when I realized I knew how to please everyone else around me but didn’t know much about myself and my own interests and aspirations. So, I started to focus on the calling to love others as you love yourself. That we are to love ourselves just as much as others. And it was pointed out to me that the Good Samaritan went on his way. He stopped to care for the needs of the injured man at the side of the road but that did not derail his own plans and carry out his own purposes.
Most mothers put the needs of their children before their own and I think that is the right thing to do during their formative years. However, this does not mean women should spend a lifetime only serving the needs of others. I believe God wants us to fulfill our potential as the people he made us to be — mature whole persons who love themselves and develop their own unique gifts and talents in a way that is fulfilling and meaningful to them and pleasing to Him.
To V. Walter,
Thank you for the devotional–especially for the prayer at its end.
Thank you for another fascinating devotional, Vincent. And a bit of your story as well.
Thank you Vince.
Thank you for this morning’s message. Happy memories of my mom who went without that our eight might be fed. The ice cream part reminded me of sharing those little boxes that had been delivered by feet that ran from the store a mile away to keep the ice cream frozen. No car and no electricity at our house. Have a good day.