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The local high school in my hometown has a cool tradition of giving personal letters of encouragement to the upcoming graduates. Written by family, friends, and persons of influence, the letters are collected and given out at a special senior breakfast. I’ve been honored to write quite a few letters over the last two decades.

As I finished one, I saved the letter in a file and had a sentimental moment as I looked through some of the other letters I’ve written for students over the years.

Just like that, the lives of so many come flashing back in my mind.

Those letters reflect years and years of relationships. They reflect small groups—good times and hard times. They reflect countless coffee meetings and weekends full of chili and football. They reflect a lot of prayer, huge dreams, and unmet expectations. They represent life.

I’m leading a group of freshmen now and reading those letters made me think of them. What do I want to write them three years from now? What do I wish were true by God’s grace for them in the next few years?

All those thoughts land me on a really important, but hard-to-swallow, truth of student ministry: ultimately, the results are up to God.

We can do everything we can in the life of a student, but only God can change a heart. Click To Tweet

As I look at all these letters and think of all these students, I know that many are walking with God. Some are not. Neither is really “my fault.” My role as their leader was and is to love them, point them to Jesus, and leave the results to Him. No more, no less.

As the school year wraps up, take time to think about what kind of letter you wish you had received when you graduated high school. How can you help someone else get one of those today?

You can. Go be an influence in someone’s life and leave the results to Him.