I recently attended a new small group for the first time. Before I walked up to the host’s front door, I had to give myself a little pep talk in the car. “Just smile. That’s all you have to do this time. Smile.” Being an introvert means having an aversion to walking into a room full of strangers, regardless of the setting.
Baby steps to the front door.
They probably just walk in without knocking for small group, but I’ve never been here before and that seems socially unacceptable. Baby steps to knock on the front door.
*Homeowner looks to see a new face and makes his way to the door.* Baby steps to smile.
He opens the door and we introduce ourselves. Turns out we’d met before, when he and his (now) wife were in high school… more than 10 years ago. We chit-chatted about common acquaintances before joining the rest of the group.
Baby steps to smile at more people.
Another gentleman walks up to introduce himself. Before I get my entire name out he interrupts, “I recognize you. You were my youth leader in high school.” Crap. He doesn’t look familiar, but he continues. “Every time you’d preach it was hilarious.” Yep. That’s me. This is not a case of mistaken identity.
After catching up on his last 10 years, he introduces me to his wife and tells her, “She’s hilarious.” I told him that he was setting the expectations too high. He laughed too hard.
“I’m not actually that funny. He’s just an easy audience.” More laughter. And so began my evening with this community group.
In some ways it was nice to be recognized and remembered, to have people know a bit about my history from the start. In other ways, it was a bit haunting.
Even after seeing pictures of this guy who was in my youth group from when he was young, I still didn’t recognize him. He admitted we’d probably never talked because he wasn’t super involved. But I’d left a legacy in his mind. When I taught the Bible, I was funny.
If that’s all he remembers about those messages, then I failed to present the gospel effectively. Granted, I am of the Jim Rayburn school of thought that it’s a sin to bore a kid with the gospel, but ultimately I want the gospel to be what’s remembered.
God has continued to chisel and polish me over the past 10 years. I’m not the same person I was when this guy knew me. What he remembers about me may no longer be accurate, but the gospel remains the same. When I’m gone, I want my legacy to be one of pointing people to an unchanging gospel of grace, to the incomprehensible love of a Father, to the unbearable sacrifice of a Savior. Humor is fleeting, but those things are eternal.
If I had one word I’d want to define my legacy, it would be “gospel”. What would yours be? What do you WANT it to be?