Alex Trebek is known to millions of viewers for his thirty-five years of hosting Jeopardy! and for his battle with pancreatic cancer. Now, long after his television career is over, he will be known to people who may have never seen him on TV.
Trebek recently donated $100,000 to Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, a nonprofit organization that works to combat hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles, California. “I hope this helps a little bit,” he told the organization’s CEO.
The new shelter will house over eighty beds and bathrooms and will have a laundry room and a commissary. A wing in the structure will now be named after Trebek.
In March, he told reporters, “I have learned something in the past year and it’s this: We don’t know when we’re going to die.” But his gift will make a difference long after his life on earth is done.
Winston Churchill stated, “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.”
How to touch lives you’ll never see
James Davison Hunter demonstrates in To Change the World that we change culture by achieving our highest place of influence and then using that influence faithfully. He calls this “manifesting faithful presence.”
You may not be the host of a television show or have $100,000 to donate to a local charity, but God has given you influence with someone in some way. The way you use your gifts, abilities, resources, and relationships in this world can either make this world better or not. It can either make your life more significant or not.
And it can either lead to eternal reward or not (1 Corinthians 3:11–15).
Unlike Alex Trebek, you may not leave a legacy today that you can measure tomorrow. In fact, as Hunter shows, most of the ways we influence culture are unknown to us at the time. Oswald Chambers observed that the river touches shores the source never sees.
That’s why it’s so important to live every day in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), surrendering every part of our lives and influence to the lordship of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1–2). Your Father will then use your obedience in ways you can measure and in ways you cannot.
In the future, homeless people in Los Angeles will be grateful for Alex Trebek’s generosity. In eternity, someone will be grateful for your faithfulness to Jesus.
What is your next step of obedience today?