Friday, May 14, 2010

The People You Meet

“Five years from now, you’ll be the same except for the people you meet and the books you read.” The late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones often made that observation, stressing the importance of relationships and of reading.

In an age when many of our written words are presented electronically, I remain a strong advocate for book reading. But that’s fodder for another blog. As for people, it’s indisputable that many individuals I have met through school, work, church, even my neighborhood, have played a big part in shaping my life.

Some time ago I wrote about personalities that became major influences in my life, but even brief encounters can make a huge difference. For instance, I had a neighbor – not a follower of Christ – who challenged me to think more deeply about my faith and seek answers to tough questions. The managing editor of a newspaper where I worked briefly taught the importance of always having a “plan B.”

Speakers I heard at various writers’ conferences challenged me to treat the written word with reverence, respecting its power, appreciating its creativity, and valuing its integrity. Occasionally, complete strangers would appear during low times in my career to offer helpful words of encouragement.

I often write about relating spirituality to the workplace in practical ways. Numerous men and women I met through the years have modeled this for me, demonstrating that to lead, manage and work according to biblical principles is an ideal worthy of pursuit.

At its heart, the Bible is a book about relationships: Our relationship with God, and our relationships with one another. I think that’s why it exhorts, “and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deed” (Hebrews 10:24). The impact we can have on others is both profound and immeasurable.

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