Leaving Footprints

“Some people come into our lives and quietly go. Others stay awhile, and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.”

I was impressed by this quote, which surfaced in Dave Kraft’s book Leaders Who Last. I thought, How true!

Pondering the quote naturally led me to think of Charlie Greene, one of these people who had stayed awhile and made a significant impact upon my life.

Charlie passed away some time ago now, but there’s no doubt he left a footprint on my heart. God used him in my life while I was a student at Purdue University in the early 1970s. Charlie was a Navigator rep serving on campus, and he led a small group Bible study with some guys from Cary Quad Housing. Along with John, Gary, Carl, and Brian, I was one of those guys.

It was a unique Bible study because the group would often start with Charlie saying, “Before we discuss our assignment, I’d like to share with you guys some thoughts that God has put on my heart for you.” And off he’d go! Sometimes we never got around to the intended study material, but as Charlie passionately shared them with us we always heard some amazing principles and challenges from God’s Word.

From time to time Charlie also met individually with me to see how I was doing personally, offer words of encouragement, and build into my life. I remember one conversation we had when I wanted to discuss with him my relationship with Debby, a wonderful Christian girl I had been dating. Charlie knew her and was greatly in favor of our relationship.

I told Charlie that Debby and I were sensing God was leading us toward marriage. We had a common purpose to see God use our lives in ministry to others. Debby thought it might be as full-time Christian workers, but I told Charlie that I wasn’t as sure. I was preparing for a career in engineering at that time, and I thought that might become a platform of ministry for us.

Charlie then told me something that has affected my life ever since. “Bob,” he said, “you probably will never be on Navigator staff, but you can be a man of God and see God use your and Deb’s lives in awesome ways through the years.” With this statement, he relieved any pressure on me to be in vocational Christian work but really challenged me that no matter my occupation, I could choose to be a man of God and have an influence for God’s Kingdom.

Long story short, Deb and I got married and continued to learn and grow in our faith and in seeing God use our lives to touch others. After I had worked three years in engineering, God led us to join The Navigators as full-time staff. That was 40 years ago, and we have had the privilege of leaving many footprints on hearts ever since!

I’m so thankful that God led Charlie to spend time with me and “leave a footprint on my heart” that affected the course of my life as well as Debby’s—by God’s grace, leaving footprints upon many hearts through the years. May God use you to make a difference for eternity’s sake in the lives of those around you and eventually in future generations.

Are you walking toward the hearts of others? Are you staying long enough to “leave footprints” and make an impact?

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