For most of us who live in Northwest Ohio, it really isn’t that big a deal. We are used to it. Every opportunity we have… we carefully plan our escape. We can’t wait to get away from here because we are bored and think there is nothing to do. So we plan expensive vacations to visit the Navy Pier and other sites of Chicago, Times Square and Ground Zero in New York City and the Disney machine and beaches of Florida. These and many other sites of destination are all in our dreams and in our plans to escape the confines of Northwest, Ohio. However, we fail to realize is that when we make the trek to our planned destination East, West , North or South, we are passing thousands of other people who are heading our way. Coming to the great place of Northwest Ohio. Like it or not, we are in a place where thousands come for vacation. For many people, Cedar Point, Kalahari Water Resort, Put-in-Bay and South Bass Island of Lake Erie and other attractions make this the “Vacation Land” of the mid-west. Boating, fishing, good food, shows, music and thrill rides….everything you could want for distraction and entertainment. It truly is an amazing place. Those of us that live here forget that.
A few weeks ago my wife and I were in Sandusky, Ohio. We were doing some shopping and we were heading to the Mall. Now the stretch of road that we have to drive from the expressway to the Mall normally takes us about 2 1/2 minutes in the winter. In these early days of summer and the vacation season, it took us just under 25 minutes to travel the same distance. Traffic is horrible and if you pull off to one of the many strip malls along the way it is almost impossible to get back onto the road again. It is a frustration but one I am willing to put up with because I know that this is good for our economy. All the hotels are booked and these visitors are pumping dollars into Northwest Ohio. This is a good thing.
On our journey to the Mall, we decided to stop off at Cold Stone Creamery. It is a treat we do not normally do, but I had received a gift card and the timing was perfect. So we pulled off the road and into the strip mall. After we finished our ice cream, we got back into our van and pulled up to get back on the road to the Mall. Passing by us, as we looked for an opportunity to break into the long line of traffic, are thousands of others. Old and young from all over the country. All gathered to see this amazing place and rest or play for a few days. We sat there for a while trying to take our chance and get moving down the road again.
As I am watching all these people pass us by, I start to wonder about them. Where are they from? What are their lives like?
I realize that as we move through each day a bit of us is left behind in the lives of those we encounter. We can either leave a smile or a frown on the face we encounter. We can find a new friend or someone who wishes we would just go away. Moment by moment and day by day we leave bits of our lives in our wake as we encounter other lives. What follows in our wake? What memory did we leave? How did we touch that life? What did we leave behind?
As a man who is part of a greater kingdom I often think about these things. I’m representing what God has done in my life as I leave bits of my life behind each encounter with another person. Have I drawn them closer to the kingdom of God or pushed them away? I have heard it said that many times people don’t reject Jesus Christ. They reject the Jesus Christ they see in you. As I apply that to my life, I am challenged to have my walk through life be an example of what God has done in my life. I want to leave a trail of encounters that touch other lives in a positive way.
I wonder, do you realize the impact you make in the lives of those you meet? Do you walk as citizens of the kingdom of God in a way that draws others to Christ or pushes them away?
This is the challenge for you and I today…
“For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15