This past weekend was our first major snowfall of the season. As I was driving into the office this morning, I was thinking about the snowplow drivers who had to clear the roads. My mind went to one particular young man who plows snow for the county and attends Bethel periodically. On numerous occasions he has come to my office for a chat about life and struggles. God has allowed me to speak into his life.
There have been many times when I have wondered if I am making any difference for the Kingdom of God. I definitely do not have the gift of evangelism. For all of the times I have given the invitation for people to come forward after a service to receive Christ, no one has responded. Not very impressive. If I compare myself to other, more dynamic pastors, I can get pretty discouraged. Then I remember my snowplow friend.
We have not all been called to be evangelists, but we have all been called to be people of influence. As I look back over my years of ministry, I can think of many people God has placed into my life so that I might have a spiritual influence on their lives. I have not always been allowed to see the results of those encounters, but I know that God has used them.
I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
In a book I have been reading recently, the author made the point that we have to leave the results in God’s hands. We can try to generate results by our own efforts, but that will not really accomplish the goal. It is only as we faithfully do our part that the desired outcome is achieved.
I have come to believe that I have been called to primarily be a planter of spiritual seed, a person of influence in other’s lives. Sometimes, God allows me to be in on the harvest. Most of the time I am not, but I know that I can leave the results in God’s hands.
Whatever our walk in life, we can all be people of influence for the Kingdom of God. We can do this by genuinely caring about and caring for the people God puts into our circle of influence. These may be family, friends, or coworkers. We express the love of Christ with them in tangible ways by the way we treat them day by day. We can be people of influence by watching for opportunities to speak into people’s lives. I remember a time when I worked in the hospital that I had the chance to speak into the life of the head nurse after a crisis had occurred. If we genuinely care for people on a routine basis, when a crisis comes they will turn to us for words of encouragement and counsel. We can be people of influence by being honest about our faith. Instead of hiding the fact that we attend church, or are part of a small group, we can salt our conversation with references to these important activities in our lives.
During this Christmas season, we have a great opportunity to be people of influence. There are so many who do not know the truth behind Christmas. Watch for opportunities to mention the awesome truth that “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.