Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. Colossians 4:2-6
Just in case anyone is wondering, it is indeed possible to be a proud father while at the same time experiencing feelings of guilt. Let me take a moment to explain. My oldest daughter, Madison, just graduated middle school and, at times, she has a better grasp of the Gospel than her old man. Since she was very young, my wife and I have tried to instill in her a loving and compassionate heart. We've told Madison to look out for others, include others, and above all else, do her best to extend love to everyone.
She has taken that message of God's love and run with it. So much so, that at her eighth-grade graduation the school administration and teachers choose her for a prestigious citizenship award. People took notice of her friendly demeanor, humble spirit, welcoming smile and servant mindset (please excuse my dad brag). She didn't bring attention to herself or do anything big, but merely looked around and asked: how can I make an impact?
A middle schooler understood an important principle that should define our church to its core: people matter to God, so they matter to us. If I'm honest, at times this principle is just lip service for me.
The effects of the Gospel must ultimately cause us to see people differently. It is the love of Christ that fuels our love for others. Found people find people. We should care so deeply about the hope found in the love of Christ that it moves us to action.
But here's the thing - we're already making an impression. Everybody is leading somebody, somewhere. None of us are merely standing by. Each morning we wake up and go about our business interacting with others. In these moments, we are influencing people and pointing them in a direction. Through our actions and our words, we are leading individuals. Whether it's our family, co-workers, neighbors or random encounters, we are influencing individuals through the way we live our lives.
Stop for a moment and ponder where you are leading the people around you. When they look at your life, what do they see? Everything you do matters in the kingdom of God so live in such a way that demands respect. God has you right where He wants you. It is no mistake. You are in that spot for a reason.
All around you are people who are desperate for meaning in their life. They need a safe place to hear a dangerous message. These individuals want nothing more than to hear there is a God full of grace and mercy who desires to be in a relationship with them. Their stories are yet to be told. All it takes is one person to extend a hand and say, "You matter more than you know. Come with me and hear a message of a loving God."
- How should the Gospel message influence the way we view people?
- Where have you been planted? How have you made the most of every opportunity you've been given?
God, people matter to You, so they matter to me. May engaging in the places where you've placed me define my life. Give me the courage to impact those within my reach. Remind me of the love I've experienced from Your hands and let that fuel my passion for others. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.