I love the way wet leaves will leave an impression on concrete. Sometimes the impression is perfect in form and sometimes it is distorted around the edges. Eventually, the impression of the leaves will fade with time due to weather. But while they are there, some go noticed (by me) and some are walked on and/or overlooked.
Last evening as I was working on my book, I just happened to be at the part that talked about the influence and impression that one man made on Trey. At the same time, he jumped on Facebook. That would be Keith Cochran, aka Rev. Keith Cochran, or to most of us, Papa K! We were able to have a short text conversation, talk about getting together soon, and I warned him to not be surprised that he might see me in Tupelo in his congregation for a visit. What he doesn’t know is that before Trey died, Trey asked me, “Is Papa K leaving?” That kid could pick up on everything. That came from his relationship with Keith. Keith did end up leaving Germantown Baptist to be called as a Pastor of his own church. What a blessing!
I will never forget the night we got the news that Trey would need to have emergency surgery the next day and he might not survive the surgery OR he could attempt a procedure at West Clinic. The youth were in New Orleans on a mission trip. Trey’s first request was I want my brother home (and Julianne, Cody, Hunter and a couple of others). Keith had the worst migraine. We share in our love for those. He was determined to go pick up those kids and get them home. I told him absolutely not! He couldn’t even see straight! It worked out that Bretta and another friend were able to drive all night to get the kids and bring them home. And Trey’s procedure at West Clinic was successful. Sacrifice for a young boy and his family. Is that what Christ would do? I think so. That’s why Keith was the first person I called at 10 p.m. that night because I already knew his character.
Keith and Trey had years to cultivate their relationship. Others have what are called “first impressions.” I strongly believe that as Christians, our first impressions are very important. We set the tone for our character, our beliefs, our attitude, and our boundaries. Sometimes that first impression is as simple as a smile. Some of our impressions are left on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. and not in a positive way. Trust me, I know. There is one fly in the ointment with impressions – people believe Christians are perfect. WHAT? We are not? Of course we are not! The only perfect human to walk this earth was Jesus Christ and HE is the impression we need to base our life upon.
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…”
Jesus cried, loudly, to the “One able to save Him from death”. Jesus was human, yet in the same scripture it says “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” I do not want to be perfect because I cannot save anyone. Only Jesus has the power of salvation. But he “learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” This is the impression I want to learn from and leave.
I would hate to think that my first impression would lead someone to believe that my Christian life is distorted like the fading of the leaf. In reality, it will happen. We all have bad days, make mistakes, but it is how we recover from those bad days that matter. I have a question for you to think about. How do you hold a Christian accountable for their impression? Will your impression remain or fade? Here is our promise!
A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever!
Yes, no matter what our impression has been, the word of our God stands forever!