March 5, 2010
What Difference Do I Make?
John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this; that one lay down his life for his friends" (NIV).
Friend To Friend
A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend's sermons, but he heard them often.
One night, the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but since the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light for practice. The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board, arms extended outward. It was then that he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body was in the shape of a cross. The man felt as if someone was speaking to him. The words of his Christian friend filled his mind. In his heart, he suddenly realized the truth. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally asked God to come into his life. As the young transformed diver stood to his feet, a maintenance man walked in and turned on the lights. The pool had been drained for repairs.
I often wonder how many desperate people cross my path each day; people who are one step away from certain destruction; people whose very life direction can be changed by the Light of God in and through my interaction with them.
If you are like me, every day is crammed full of tasks, errands, deadlines, demands and activities. I run headlong through each twenty-four hours from the minute my feet hit the floor until I crawl into bed each night. It is in those quiet moments before sleep that I hear Him ask, "Did you make a difference today? Is someone closer to the Light because you told them about what I have done in your life? Did you recognize that "intruder" or "interruption" as a divine appointment from Me instead of an inconvenience? Does what you did today really matter?"
Sadly, I have to confess that many times I miss opportunities to participate in eternal business because I am so focused on earthly business. My agenda becomes my god and time management my idol. I could have been "God with skin on" to the frustrated cashier at the grocery store instead of brushing her aside because I was in a hurry to do something I deemed more important. I could have blessed the friend who called, needing an encouraging word instead of preaching an unsolicited sermon in the name of compassion. I could have taken a few more minutes to listen when the elderly man struck up a conversation with me at the gas pump instead of walking away, leaving him just as lonely as he was when we met.
Jesus would have done things differently. With every breath, He was aware of the hurting and wounded, pursuing the broken people instead of avoiding them. Jesus carefully and deliberately invested every moment of His time on earth. And there has never been a life that made such a difference or mattered so much!
I want my life to really count, don't you? We are never more like God than when we are reaching out in love to meet a need, comfort a broken heart, encourage a weary soul or challenge the darkness with His Light! On your journey today, look for those desperate ones who need you to be God with skin on!
Father God, I confess to You that I am often too busy to hear Your voice or determine Your direction for my life. Please forgive me for being self-centered. Help me to see those who cross my path like You see them. Help me to love them with your love, drawing them from the darkness into the Light.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
What keeps you from recognizing the need in others and then reaching out to meet that need?
Think back to a time when someone reached out to you. What was your response? How did their action change your life?
What difference can an awareness of hurting people make in your daily walk?
Identify one person in need today and look for a specific and timely way to meet that need.
More From The Girlfriends
I know this truth is hard to put into action. It is so much easier to just close our eyes to a need … turn away from hurting people … and grieve the heart of God. I challenge you to step out in faith and allow God to work in and through you!
Looking for encouragement? My first DVD is now available! Check it out! Strength for the Storm is my story of God's power to turn a broken life into a trophy of His grace and restoration. It will encourage and equip you to face and discover the purpose of each storm in your life.
Visit my website at www.marysoutherland.com to enroll in my weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey. The current lesson topic is "Love That Never Fails." Be sure to check out my book, "Escaping the Stress Trap" for more ways to face those storms.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Friday, 05 March 2010.