Leaving a Mark

“A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech. When men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as pennies. If his life and doctrine disagree, the mass of onlookers accept his practice and reject his preaching.” -C.H. Spurgeon

One of the things that I heard often when growing up was this: “That’s going to leave a mark.” I tripped and scraped my knee…“That’s going to leave a mark.” Ran into the barbed-wire fence…“That’s going to leave a mark.” Fell from the top of a tree I had climbed…“That’s going to leave a mark.” And those situations did, in fact, leave their marks. We all have scars from accidents and incidents. We all have marks. But it’s easier to focus on the marks made upon us than it is to focus on the marks we make.

I think of parents who fail to guide and guard their children with a clear biblical focus…“That’s going to leave a mark.” People steadily pursuing habits that distance them from an intimate walk with God…“That’s going to leave a mark.” Or when anger, or gossip, or bitterness arises and governs behavior, sullies a life, or destroys a relationship…“That’s going to leave a mark.” We all have marks; we all leave marks. Some are just seen more clearly than others.

In the New Testament, a certain word, tupos, surfaces periodically. The word means “the mark of a blow.” It is the word used to describe the act of minting a coin by striking it with a die, or leaving an impression in wax or clay by the application of pressure. It’s the same word translated as “pattern” in Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have for us a pattern.”

He uses the word again (translated as “example”) in I Thessalonians 1:7: “So that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.” Paul uses the same word to encourage both Timothy and Titus to be examples to those before them.

You will leave a mark. You will make an impression that will, in some way, no matter how seemingly small, shape the lives of others. I saw a quote once that read, “No matter who you are, someone is looking to you as an example of how to believe and how to behave.” Who is watching you? Could it be said of you that you strive to live a life that strikes the right kind of die in the lives of others? That your lasting impression is one that shamelessly glorifies Christ and points others clearly to Him? Are you, like Paul, willing to say to those around you, “The things which you…saw in me, these do” (Phil. 4:9)?

What kind of example do you display?

What impression do you make?

That’s going to leave a mark…what will it be?

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