I am just amazed at the good that takes place when Christian people allow themselves to be used by God. Incredible! I have seen, again and again, people serve and give themselves away. Jesus really does have that kind of impact on people who follow him and take seriously his call to kingdom living. I can only tell you what I’ve seen. But what I have seen has been very encouraging:
- Christ-followers who have given their money, time, and attention to total strangers who had to leave their homes due to Hurricane Katrina. I remember the 125 who stayed in our church building for an entire weekend while Christians served and gave themselves to these people.
- Men and women who have continued to serve in small churches in hard places, often facing tremendous hardships.
- Christian teens who have given themselves away in mission trips that are very challenging.
- Women and men who have given time and attention to children who needed someone else in their life who cared. I have seen it again and again. A Christian man took several afternoons a week to teach a young teenager (the son of a single parent as I recall) how to drive. I’ve seen Christians come together and help a young person, who had few resources himself, go to college.
- Business people who have taken Jesus’ call to follow him quite seriously. It impacted the way they conducted themselves at work with clients, customers, suppliers, etc.
I could go on and on. I suspect you have your own stories.
These stories — these memories — encourage me. They remind me of the beauty God creates in our lives when we yield to these opportunities for service.
There is another side to this story however.
Christian people can also allow themselves to be used by the evil one. Some of the greatest evil I have witnessed has been at the hands of people who seemed to have forgotten what Jesus said about the two great commandments. When loving God and loving people are forgotten or ignored, we can destroy one another. Reputations have been murdered by people who wear Christ’s name. Such behavior among Christian people gives no evidence that these people are experiencing a radical transformation in Jesus. These behaviors can be very discouraging and even demoralizing to other Christ-followers.
I suspect that we all have our stories about the kind of behavior I just described. I would like to focus, however, on the behaviors that inspire, encourage, and give hope.
What have you seen? In what ways have you seen Christ-followers used by God that has given you fresh courage and inspiration? What have you seen that has encouraged you?