2 Corinthians 5:17-21
One of the benefits of living in the house we now occupy is the wood stove in the basement. Even on a cold winter day once it is warm inside we do not need the use of the electric heaters after a good fire is lit. This benefit is increased tremendously by the fact that a lot of yard clean up had been done after the previous tenents moved. At first glanse the pile of branches and downed trees seems like a mess left to be cleaned up taking up a lot of time and effort but look again and you see apossibility of renewing a valuable resource along with the chance of saving considerable money over the next winter. True some of the trees and branches are useless being too small or having rotted from laying outside in the wet mud for almost a year but with a little work much can be saved. This work of sorting good wood from what is rotten or too small to be stored is not so unlike the growth process of a believer in Christ. God sees that though not everything in our former lifestyle is benefical for our new life and some of it is down right deadly for us to hold on to there are things that can be of great use such as learned habits of disciplined living, music talent, artistic ability of other kinds, a network of relationships and, of course, the basic type of personality God created in the first place. God is ever patient and always purposeful in His work of molding each individual into His own image once again. He removes what is harmful or unnecessary and makes a vessel of honor for the Kings of Kings. What is seemingly a daunting task in the power and leadership of Holy Spirit becomes an exciting journey of growing up in Christ our Lord.
Is your life looking like a mess? I close with quote I first heard from Monty Louis once on of Canada’s most dangerous men who became a man of God used to bring hope to countless lives, ” God took my mess and turned it into a message.”,
Read, Phil. 1:3 Rom. 5:6-8
Ask yourself this question; Over the course of my life what people have been the greatest influences for good? Who do I appreciate? Okay, that’s two questions but here’s todays challenge. There have been people that have made a significant difference for each one of us in a positive way. People who have taught us valuable life lessons. People who have sacrificed for our benefit with no expectation of a returned favor or future pay back. People who have loved us when we did not earn their love. People that we will never forget.
The person or persons that come to mind during the time it takes to read this blog are the ones that relate to the challenge for today. Some of the people who have impacted us may no longer be with us now so all we can do is thank God for their personal contribution to our own lives but what about those who are still here quietly making a difference in the lives of people around them? Here are three things you can do to let these unknown heroes know how much their lives have meant to someone else.
1. Pray for them. Even people who encourage others regularly need to be encouraged themselves. They face difficult circumstances, battle negative emotional responses to life’s ups and downs and struggle with unknown temptations. Pray for God’s intervention on behalf of those you care for on a daily basis. Prayer makes a huge difference because God listens to and answers prayer.
2. Tell the ones who have made a difference in your life just how they have been a positive impact when you needed them. Most people at one time or another struggle with doubts as to whether or not their lives have effected others in a positive way. Most likely all of us will ask the question, “Did I make a difference?”, at some point. We all want to know that how we have lived is significant if only in our own circle of family and friends. Hearing how our choices have been a blessing to others gives us great joy, encourages us to keep reaching out to others around us and helps to drive away discouragement.
3. Show them how much they mean to you. People use words all the time. You may say, “No kidding. What was your first clue.”, but think about it for a minute. Unfortunately most of us also know someone who talks much but that is all their words amount to. Talk but no action. People may say I love you but never give any other indication that this is how they feel and so what happens? We believe what they say just because they say it? No. We doubt what they say because we never see any actions that confirm the words we hear. God’s love is not just empty words. God’s love is His living Word who willingly sacrificed His life for ours. How do I know God loves me? I hear His Word and see the actions following that confirm the truth of His Word. For those who have been a blessing to us may we make a decision today to do something to let them know how important their contributions to our lives have been. It may not be something that seems big and it does not have to be some expensive gift. To show our appreciation can look something like a heart felt letter posted in the old fashioned mail or perhaps hand delivered would be a wonderful way to let someone know they are special to you. Take them out for coffee or a lunch and tell them how they have changed your life for the better. Find out if they have a need and meet it. Spend some quality time with the person and let them know why you are doing it.
Taking specific time to demonstrate our appreciation for others is sometimes a difficult thing. We feel awkward trying to express how we feel and with the busy lifestyle most of us have today it is easy to stay busy enough to let ourselves off the hook because of a tight schedule. Don’t allow that to happen. It is often so easy to share what hurts or frustrates us or what we don’t like. Let’s all make the effort together to begin to find ways to share the things we do like about others. Let’s make time for what truly matters; for the things that will last forever; our relationships with God and others. Please don’t just read this but rather after reading put it into action. It is the challenge for today.