I will not be posting a devotional for the next few days. I’ll be back on line on Monday.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Current Study: People Who Made a Difference
Today’s Topic: Salvation
Today’s Scripture: Romans 3:22-24 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Of all the stories I’ve been reading about people who made a difference in someone’s life, I’ve discovered a glaring omission. I haven’t received a single story yet of someone who came to saving faith in Jesus Christ because of the influence of another person. Now I’m convinced that there are many such stories, and you probably have one. You may even be the subject of someone else’s story of salvation because you showed them the way to Jesus. But I am concerned about something. Why, when we think of the people who made a difference in our lives, don’t we immediately think of the person who was responsible for telling us about Jesus? Isn’t our salvation the greatest gift we have ever received, and didn’t it make the biggest difference in our lives?
I believe the answers to these questions have serious implications in our lives today. We have become people who move about in life with very little concern for the lost people around us. We are so enamored by the blessings of our own lives, filled with pleasures and possessions, that we are blinded to the spiritual condition of those around us who are still in the bondage of sin. We would do anything and make any sacrifice to accomplish our own goals, but find it difficult to influence another life for Christ. We make plans to see a Packer game, go on a trip, buy a new car or boat or camper, or invest in any other item or activity that will perish with this world, and yet we will let lost people around us perish with it. What does that say about our personal value system?
Roger Storms, pastor of First Christian Church in Chandler, Arizona, tells this story: “One Sunday, a car had broken down in the alley behind our facilities, and the driver had jacked up the car and crawled underneath to work on the problem. Suddenly, we heard him scream for help. The jack had slipped, and the car had come down on top of him. Someone shouted, ‘Call 9-1-1!’ and a couple of people ran for the phone. Several of our men gathered around the large car and strained to lift it off the trapped man. Nurses from our congregation were rounded up and brought to the scene. Somehow the men were able to ease the car’s weight off the man and he was pulled free. Our nurses checked him over. He was scratched up and shaken, but otherwise okay. When this man was in peril, people did all they could to help—risking themselves, inconveniencing themselves. Whatever was necessary to save this man, they were ready to try. How we need this same attitude when it comes to rescuing those in greatest peril—the danger of losing life eternally!”
C.S. Lewis said, “The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.” The real business of life! So I have a simple suggestions to help us all get back to the real business of life – every day, at the close of every prayer, whether it’s at meals or in your devotions, ask God to use your life to win one soul to Christ today. How can we claim to pray in Jesus’ Name if we aren’t praying for His number one priority for our lives? We must begin to get serious about bringing people to Jesus, and the best place for that to start is in our prayers.
Steve Sjogren is the pastor of a church in Cincinnati, Ohio. One Monday morning he was feeling particularly discouraged and announced to his wife Janie, “I’m quitting the ministry! And this time I mean it.” Janie had heard this kind of talk before so she suggested, “Why don’t you go for a drive and think things through? Usually that helps when you’re stressed out. And while you’re out, could you be a sweetheart and pick me up a burrito?” Steve drove around for about an hour, complaining to the Lord the whole time. Finally, he was in the fast-food drive-thru to pick up Janie’s burrito when he sensed the Lord speaking to him. He is very careful to say he did not hear an audible voice … nothing came over the drive-thru speaker. In a subtle, quiet way he sensed the Lord impressing this message on his heart, “If you open your door I will give you a gift.” Even though he felt silly, Steve figured he had nothing to lose, so he opened the car door, looked down and saw embedded in the asphalt, a tarnished penny. This is what he says about the experience: “I reached down to pry out the coin and held it in my hand feeling less than thankful for this ‘gift.’ The Lord spoke to me again: ‘Many people in this city feel about as valuable as discarded pennies. I’ve given you the gift of gathering people who seem valueless. Though these are the people that the world casts off, they have great value to me. If you will open your heart, I will bring you more pennies than you know what to do with.”
So start praying for pennies. Spiritual pennies. Ask God to use your life to make a difference in the life of someone else by showing them the love of Jesus and leading them to salvation. Be intentional about it. Make it a part of every prayer you pray. Before you say “in Jesus Name, Amen” you should always say “Jesus, save someone today, and use me to do it.”