This week I learned of the passing of one of my college professors. I hadn’t seen her for fifteen years, but my eyes filled with tears at the news.

Ms. Taylor never married or had children of her own, but she was a surrogate mother to hundreds she came in contact with. My husband and I attended a small Christian college, and we were privileged to know many of our instructors on a personal level. They welcomed us into their homes (many of which were on or very near campus.) We worshiped together at chapel services and, in some cases, on Sundays at the local churches in the area. We served together in ministry projects and missions trips.

She, like the other instructors, taught us as much outside the classroom as they did inside. I will never take for granted the Godly influence they were on my life during a time when I had moved 500 miles away from everything I had ever known.

At times like this, it’s natural to ask what our influence looks like. Because, like it or not, we all have one. We may be influencing others for good or ill, but none of us leaves this world without leaving a mark.

Are we steering people to the Cross, or away from it, with our actions? Are those who see us “behind-the-scenes” getting the same picture as those on the other side of the camera? We may not be charged with shaping young people into Godly adults, like Ms. Taylor and her collegues. But God has placed people in our lives to show them how to live for Him.

I want my influence, my legacy, to be one of Godliness. I pray that we all strive for that goal, because when we have left this world, it will be all that remains.