2 Cor. 4:15 (NLT) All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
I woke up this morning thinking about how Jesus radically saved me from a life of destruction. My thanks to Him is beyond my ability to communicate it to Him in words.
In 1977, I lived in a little rented house in the inner city. I lived in a neighborhood of inner city people that smoked a lot of pot, grew a lot of flowers, and that wanted to “give peace a chance.” They were “free spirits” doing their own thing as was I. Drugs and alcohol had become my addition and were slowly derailing my life. What I never knew or could see was that God was calling to me. God was watching over me. God was reaching out to guide my extremely misguided life.
I was young man raised right in a good family that had gone astray – not out of rebellion, just off the straighter path of life looking for meaning and more fun. I grew up with a work ethic taught to me by my parents that as I look at in hind sight – was far stronger than most I knew. It was deteriorating from the use of pot and being aimless. I had given Greyhound five years of my life and loved the people I worked with but I started to feel an unrest and knew I needed to make a change. I was clueless as what to do. One day while getting a hair cut, the stylist mentioned that he had applied to be a flight attendant for the airline in town. While driving away from that hair cut I thought, “I need to go apply there.” Little did I know that his mentioning this job was God’s grace speaking to and directing me.
When I applied there, they apologized. I was told they’d received over one million applications for the flight attendant positions nation wide and couldn’t accept any more. I was disappointed. The next day, while visiting my parents, I waved to and got into a conversation with their next door neighbor, a very pleasant woman we grew up next to. She had been a widow but had recently gotten married. She had asked me how I was doing. I mentioned that I was ready for a change of jobs and had tried to apply at the airlines but couldn’t get my application in. She smiled and said, “Give it to me. My new husband is a vice-president of that airline.” God’s grace was working unbeknownst to me.
When the interview came, it was a group interview with about a dozen people. This may sound funny, but they were beautiful people – both guys and gals. She had each person tell of their family, school, and work experience to date and why they wanted the job. I was the last to talk. Each person came from great families, had college educations, and incredible travel experience. I thought, “I have about as much chance as a snowball in …… “ When it came to me, the interviewer had this glow and smile that put me at such incredible ease. I told about my family and being one of ten children. I told them that my college education was on hold. I told them about my work experiences. She hired me. I was floored! A year later she told me it was because “the Lord had spoken to her and said, you need to hire him.” “I have a plan for him.” God’s grace was working unbeknownst to me.
After working there for about a year, I worked with a flight attendant who was this glowing person. She was special and I wanted to know why. She ended up sharing Jesus and the gospel with me. I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Although it took about three months for me to figure out what this really meant and to find a church would teach me the Bible, my life was radically changing. God’s grace was working mightily in my life even though I had no idea what grace was.
Shortly the drugs were gone, the alcohol was gone, the profanity was gone – my desire for anything offensive to Jesus and His Word fell out of my life. My friends thought I flipped out. It was just a short time later that I met this breathtakingly beautiful Christian woman named Renee. I had fallen radically in love with Jesus. Now I was radically falling in love with her. I was often overwhelmed with thanksgiving to God. I remember a six month period where I would stand in church worshipping the Lord thanking Him for plucking me out off of a path leading to destruction and Hell and filling my life with Him and all these new good things. I would cry with thanks during worship almost every Sunday. I was almost embarrassed for feeling so emotional. It was not typically me, but every time I would think about what God did for me, I’d be fighting tears of thanks.
Two years ago, my son Peter was at our annual Men’s Advance with a couple hundred men. The week following he told me, “Dad, I am happy in my job but this past weekend, I saw the influence and the good you bring to all those men’s lives. I want my life to have that kind of significance.” I just smiled but didn’t say much. I knew in my heart that God’s grace was calling and leading Him.
Today’s Fresh Manna verse says, All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
My life is so rich today. I am full of thanksgiving for the richness of God’s grace and mercy and I do give Him all the glory for every good thing in my life. Praise His name forever!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.