Thursday, September 25, 2008
Current Study: People Who Made a Difference
Today’s Topic: He’s Still Painting
Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:1, 5-9 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands…Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
I don’t think he ever realized how much of an impact he had on people. Every brush with him left a mark. It was hard to tell he had even been there sometimes, except for the new look he left behind. Old stains, scratches and scars would be invisible after he was done. With meticulous care he would cover every part of the problem, using a variety of strokes to insure complete restoration. He would reposition himself when necessary, climbing to any heights, so that even the farthest corners could be touched and transformed. He brought color to otherwise drab circumstances. When necessary he would even stir the pot a little to bring consistency. He wasn’t locked in to one way of doing things. He had a variety of techniques and tools to tackle any test. He could spray on love, roll on grace, and brush on forgiveness. In fact, he painted all three of those things on me. Painting was what he loved. Now he knows how great of a painter he was, because he painted lives for the Master, and the Master has personally shown him his handiwork.
For those of you who are not from Calvary, I am speaking of a man of God with whom we all served. He was an Elder at our church, and this morning at around three a.m. he climbed his last ladder. At the top were the waiting arms of the Master Painter of lives, and he was welcomed into them. Jim Russell is with Jesus. His work is done, but his painting continues. His life will continue to make brush marks on ours. He will add consistency to our lives as we are stirred by his faith and faithfulness. He will continue to paint over the stains and scars of our lives with the brush strokes of forgiveness he demonstrated to us. Every time we see a ladder, he will continue to challenge us to climb to new heights to reach people who need to be touched and transformed. Even though he is now in a place that needs no painting, he is still painting, and we are his canvas. We always were, and that’s why he made such a difference.