Word of the Week: Impressions

Yesterday Norma Jean and I visited the West Citrus Church in Crystal River, Florida. It was my pleasure to fill in and speak during the Bible class period, but our real blessing was listening to a lesson by one of their members, Jim Underwood.

Jim began his sermon by reading the words of this country song by singer and songwriter Chris Stapleton.

Daddy don’t pray anymore
I guess he’s finished talking to the lord
He used to fold his hands and bow his head down to the floor
But daddy don’t pray anymore

I remember even when the times were bad
He thanked Jesus for everything he had
For a good wife and three children
And the food upon our plates
Yeah, everything was right when he said, grace

Daddy don’t pray anymore
I guess he’s finished talking to the lord
He used to fold his hands and bow his head down to the floor
But daddy doesn’t pray anymore

There was a time when we didn’t get along
‘Cause I thought I was right and he was wrong
Still when I laid down at night
I’d hear him get down on his knees
And say a little prayer for me

Daddy don’t pray anymore
I guess he’s finished talking to the lord
He used to fold his hands and bow his head down to the floor
But daddy don’t pray anymore

Today I followed daddy down to church
And listened to the preacher read God’s word
We sang his favorite hymn but daddy didn’t make a sound
This afternoon we’ll lay him in the ground
Daddy don’t pray anymore
I guess he’s finally walking with the lord

Stapleton wrote this song based on his boyhood experiences of a Daddy who prayed at every meal. Jim made the point that impressions are powerful. Penetrating. And permanent.

Every day we have opportunities to leave lasting impressions on the hearts of those with whom we meet. The ability to influence others for good, or to make changes in their lives often hinge upon the impression they have of us.

Fathers, what impression are you imprinting on the minds of your sons who hear your every word and watch your every action?

Mothers, what impression are you imparting on the hearts of your daughters who observe your demeanor, your dress, and your overall deportment?

Christian worker, what impression are you leaving in the marketplace as you engage in your business, occupation or profession?

Young people, what impression are you making on your fellow students? Your teachers? Your coaches? Your counselors?

Shepherds, what impression does the flock you oversee have toward your servant-leadership and your care and concern for them?

Fellow preachers, what impression are you leaving in the pulpit by your presentation of the Word and personal demeanor?

Facebook friends, what impression are leaving on people by your posts? Your pictures? And the manner in which you respond to others?

Brothers and sisters, what impression is your local congregation making on those who visit your services? Is it an atmosphere or warmth? Friendliness? Fellowship? Inclusion? And brotherly kindness? Yesterday the church at West Citrus left that kind of impression on us.

It’s safe to say that all of us should work to point people to Jesus. To follow in His steps. To impress upon others that it’s not about us, but it’s all about Him. To walk as He walked. To live a life, like the apostle Paul who urged his readers to follow Him, as he followed Christ. (1 Pet. 2:20-23; 1 Cor 11:1; 1 Jn. 2:6).

As we do good works, demonstrate the mind of Christ, and put others first, our Christian influence creates a positive impression (Matt 5:13-16; Phil. 2:1–5). Especially is this so in our interaction with unbelievers, as Paul reminds us in Colossians 4:5-6.

“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

The way we use our time, respond to our opportunities and use our material resources to share our lives with others, leaves a lasting impression for good or bad.

And remember this, as my good friend Bob Andrews said to me many years ago, “You never get a second chance at a first impression.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

3 Comments

Filed under Word of the Week

3 responses to “Word of the Week: Impressions

  1. Ken, thanks for another great piece. I posted to twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Peace and Grace to you.

  2. tanya Warrick

    beautiful

  3. John C. Jens

    Made an impression on me ….

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