by Pastor Tim Burt
For the last three days we've been told by the weathermen that our first snowstorm of the winter is coming. Well they didn't get it wrong. It arrived at about 4 a.m. this morning. Snow is a part of life here in Minnesota and if you want to live here, then you have to get used to it. The only thing that's hard is when it comes this early, it makes for a long winter!
Sometimes different seasons of our life can feel like a long winter. Economic hardship, sickness or disease, relational issues, or newscasts that make this entire world seem like it’s gone crazy. It gets to people and it can get to you or me if we let it. We can’t. We have to keep focused on why God brought us into this world.
We have a purpose in this earth and a very finite time to walk it out. Our purpose is to be an influence for Jesus Christ in any and all the ways we can be. Our lives are to be a written epistle that mankind can read. The Apostle Paul said it like this: “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ…written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God…" 2 Cor. 3:2-3 (NKJV)
Our lives can make a difference and lead others to Jesus when we keep our focus and “let our light shine before men.” Life passes so quickly and we can get so distracted and discouraged. We can’t afford to. We have to move on because lives are at stake. We might not be in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting the war, but we are in this world fighting a war for souls. Even your simple smile, your kind words, and gentle actions have the potential to allow someone to see Jesus in you and leave them wanting more which you can give them as you are led by the Spirit.
Last week a man called me to ask if he could meet me for coffee and talk with me. I didn't know what it was about, but I said yes. I was motivated to meet with him because he had been a great blessing to me in a particular area of ministry and I wanted to know him better. When we sat down, I just let him talk. He proceeded to share some of the kindest words I’d ever had anyone speak to me. He said he had watched me closely for a long time and that because he had tried to emulate what he saw in me, it had transformed his life. Wow! I was blown away. I immediately told him how imperfect and flawed I was and that it was Jesus in me he was seeing. He knew that but wanted to thank me for being the best example I could be.
He’d been watching. What a thought. It wasn't the first time someone had told me that. A man that was suicidal called me once. He was going to kill himself until suddenly he thought of me. He called me, asked if we could talk and I said yes. His first words were, “I've been watching you…” I led him to the Lord and he now lives wholeheartedly for the Lord. This has happened many times.
Life is too short to get discouraged, distracted, and depressed. All those things are a product of focusing on me, myself, and I. God, in His goodness and grace, has allowed each of us to have influence in the lives of others that could lead to their eternal salvation and a blessed life here! What an honor and a privilege. Stuff, toys, and things do not make my life rich. Money, power, and carnal fun do not make my life rich. Being used of God and seeing lives saved, transformed, and filled with purpose, make my life rich. Having godly loving relationships make my life rich. When I am focused on me, it’s feels like that long, never-ending winter. When I am focused on being a light before man, my life becomes energized and directed by Almighty God Himself.
When letting your light shine before men is what drives your life, then no matter what’s going on around you, you feel God’s presence, His love, and His help in being that light. Even hard times become good times. And every season of life is good!
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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