“The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”


Psalm 103:15-16

On my morning walk I would often pass by an old house that stood unoccupied and alone. Small by today’s standards it was maybe 800 square feet on two levels with a sign on the front door that proclaimed its age and condition; “condemned”.


As I walked past, I couldn’t help but wonder about its story: how many families had found refuge under its roof? How many meals were cooked in its kitchen? How many children sat at the table doing their homework? But those were better days, days long forgotten as it stood lonely and forlorn and then, on my walk a few days ago I passed by, and the house was gone and in its place was a bare patch of dirt. Within a few weeks, weeds will cover the area and unless you had seen it, you would never know a house once stood on that ground.


The Psalmist says that our lives are fleeting, they are like grass which flourishes for a time but then, “the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more”. What we did and who we were will fade into the dusty pages of history with little recognition that we walked this way and lived this life. It can be a little depressing and I must say that I felt a little sad for the old house to be torn down and removed until I started to think of its impact on the lives of people. I wondered out the families who had lived there and made it a home and of the happy memories that linger in the minds of those folks. I thought about the warm embrace on cold winter nights and the dry shelter in a storm and thought, “maybe it did have a place in this world and the world would be different if it had not existed.”


Our life may be fleeting, it may be long or short in finite terms but what of its impact? In the time I have in this world will I simply occupy space or will I make a difference. In 100 years or 500 years my name will be long forgotten but will my influence still be felt in the lives of those around me and in their children’s children.


Whether we know it or not we will influence someone’s life today, for good or for bad. Our influence may be life changing or it may be just another day in the life of an old house but what we do has significance, it has meaning and purpose and even when we are long gone, the world will be different because we were here.



Major Mike Hoeft

Area Commander/Social Mission Regional Director

Prairies and Northern Territories