Leaving Your Footprints

It was one of those family times where everything was going so well! Our family was gifted with a beautiful home right on Suttons Bay for seven days, and for four of those days, job schedules allowed for our entire family to be all together in the same location.

A beautiful Michigan sunset had finalized our first day, and the sound of the calm Suttons Bay waves added to the magnificent “Up north” ambience. My boys enthusiastically started a bonfire, and the kids were enjoying making s'mores, when all of a sudden, the mosquitoes decided to join our little party. Determined not to be the mosquitoes' bedtime snack option, my daughter grabbed a can of bug spray and stood away from us to spray her legs and bare feet. The problem was that when she walked away, the silhouette of her feet remained on the beautiful slate stone patio!

I noticed the stain immediately when she left the area, but thought for sure that everything would disappear when the remaining bug spray dried. Yet, the very next morning, the outline of her feet was still there! Worse yet, the daylight seemed to intensified things even more as the spray continued to soak into the slate stone! Now, to my daughter’s defense, her feet are small. It’s not like she has size 15 feet that left this huge mark, but regardless, her footprints were still an unwanted legacy of our visit.

Legacies can have powerful connotations, both in negative and positive ways. What thoughts come to mind when you ask yourself, “What do I want to be remembered for?" As Christians, one of our top priorities would be pointing others to Jesus and populating Heaven in the process, and one of the sweetest blessings of St. Matthew Lutheran School is the ability to provide our students with opportunities to do so.

Last Tuesday, our sixth through eighth graders had a “day of service” where they had the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus and show His love in the process. Our sixth grade had a very busy day cleaning the church grounds as well as making cards and gifts for elderly members of our church. Our seventh and eighth grade went and worked the fields at Forgotten Harvest Farm, a local non-profit food rescue organization that provides 138,000 pounds of food to local charities five days a week. This year, their assignment was to pick carrots and at the end of their shift, they had harvested 2,650 lbs of carrots! As excited as the teachers were regarding how God had used their students, I thought it might be more impactful to hear insights from a few actual students:

"It felt good to help a lot of people today. My goal is to spend each day doing something to serve the Lord." Sydney Grade 6

"It felt like we weren't doing much as an individual, but as a group of people, we were able to make a big impact."
Braedon Grade 7

"I learned that even if something doesn't sound fun or is hard, you should keep on trying and not give up. All that we did was for a very good cause." Addison Grade 8

"In life, our goal is always to be just like Jesus as much as we can, and it felt wonderful to help people."  Grace Anne Grade 6

"Even though it was hard work, it made me feel better knowing that those carrots would be in someone's kitchen within 24 hours. I know that God wants us to help others. It made me want to continue helping in any way I can."  Madalyn Grade 7

"I feel I was a reflection of God's love, and I picked each carrot with the thought that somebody would have food for another day." Jack Grade 8

"Today made me happy because I knew I was making others happy." Griffin Grade 6

"My effort yesterday taught me not to be selfish about the way I think and care for others."  Christian Grade 7

"It felt great that we were living as God intended us to by helping others."  
Sam Grade 7

"I enjoy helping others because I know that I am doing it for God and because of all that He's done for me."
Reuben Grade 8

"I learned that no matter what the job is, I can always help someone in need and do something for someone that God loves, and it's as simple as that!"  Camryn Grade 8

Bottom line: the most important thing that lasts forever is Jesus!

This year, we are "On Our Way" to making more disciples, and it is such a joy watching your child's passion for pointing others to Jesus blossom.

In His Love,
Mrs. Palka

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