To What Extent Are You Leaving ‘Trace Evidence?’

Years ago, I remember a challenging question thrown across my path. It arrested my heart as I considered its implication for my life. The question was simply this,

In the eyes of the world, would there be enough evidence from your Christian lifestyle to convict you of being a follower of Jesus.

In these days, as the spread of the Covid-19 virus continues to race around the globe, one of the most important areas of focus, by those in the medical community, is to ‘trace’ the spread of this infectious disease. By the very nature of its pathogen, the Coronavirus can be tracked by carrying out a thorough study of all people infected with the virus, and who they had personal contact with over the previous two weeks. 

This search for ‘trace evidence’ will be with us for the foreseeable future, whether we like it or not. Contract the virus and be prepared to undergo a thorough scrutiny of your relational contacts for the past fourteen days. Keeping track of who you’ve associated with, worked with, played and partied with has now become part of the price we pay in being held accountable for living responsibly. It’s now the reality of living as part of a community.

The collection of trace evidence isn’t a new phenomenon.  For many years, forensic investigators have been engaged in the search for such evidence to use against those charged with crimes. Often, it is the presence of trace evidence upon which a successful conviction is based.

Like fingerprints left on the fridge that bear witness to your hunger pangs the night before, do you realize in the economy of God, your life in Jesus is meant to leave ‘trace evidence’ upon all people you meet?  Jesus said that should be the result in the outworking of our faith…

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see the evidence of your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:13-16)

Peter puts it this way…’ Live such good lives among non-believers, that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see the evidence of your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us (1 Peter 2:12)

The legacy Jesus left us, that was to spread virally throughout the world, was none less than the ‘spilling out’ of His Love on others through the natural outworking and impact our lives were designed to have among those around us. The same love Jesus showed us, by the laying down of his life on the cross, is the same love and cause to which he calls us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23.)

Oscar Hammerstein, who penned the lyrics of many a Broadway musical, summed up the essence of this experience in these poetic words… “A bell’s not a bell ‘til you ring it; a song’s not a song ‘til you sing it; love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, love isn’t love ‘til it’s given away!”


  • To what extent has there been ‘trace evidence’ of God’s love that you’ve left behind in the lives of those you’ve associated with in the past month?
  • While you still may practice social distancing related to those around you, how can you infect them with the legacy of love that Jesus left with us to share?
  • To what extent is there evidence in your life ‘today’ that you are a follower of Jesus?

A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also, you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (John 13:34-35)

Rev. Dr. Tim Beadle
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