Over the Christmas/New Year holidays, I took a long walk with my oldest daughter and we spotted this beautiful print of a leaf on the concrete. Often, after a rainstorm, a leaf pressed to the concrete will leach sap and form what looks like a photographic image--kind of reminiscent of a pinhole camera. Although the image, a mere stain, doesn't last for long--it is never the less, a reminder of the lovely shape of the leaf.
However, when a leaf or plant falls to the sand and is quickly covered by more sand and weighed down by even more layers, in time becomes a fossilized imprint, a mold of the leaf in sandstone or shale. The original components quickly decay away, but unlike the stain, the exquisite details of the leaf, the delicate symmetry of the plant's skeleton, the veins are visible.
Both the stain and the imprint are formed after the death of the leaf, which began as a tiny leafbud that grew and unfurled and lived it's cycle, from tender green to a final and glorious brilliant orange, red, or yellow before its fall to the earth.
Most of us would like to be remembered for achieving or accomplishing something of worth in our time here on this earth. We struggle with feelings of unimportance, of irrelevence. We seek honor and recognition. For academic achievers, there are honors and awards, for military heroes, there are metals. For notable politicians or great philantropists--statues or busts. Buildings and stadiums are dedicated to or named for people.
But in God's world, there are no unimportant or irrelevent people. The greatest heroes in the history of mankind have never received a metal or honor had the opportunity to stand before kings and presidents. Men and women who tirelessly toiled to serve and care for others, putting those needs before their own. People who gave their lives for the gospel of Christ. Believers, whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. They will live and reign forever with the King of Kings.
So whether you have a cabinet full of trophies or a wall of certificates, the greatest honor you've ever received as a believer, is a free gift you did nothing in your own strength to attain.
We bear the image and imprint of Christ. The stain of His blood is upon our hearts, the imprint of His glory is on our lives. We are His greatest glory!