by Pastor Tim Burt
Last week, Renee and I were out-of-town. It seemed like it snowed every day while we were gone. Coming home to that much snow is a shock but it’s what you sign up for when you live in Minnesota! Snow is a part of life here 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 and stays late—making it a long winter!
Sometimes different seasons of our life can feel like a long winter. Economic hardship, sickness or disease, relational issues, or political seasons that make this entire world seem like it’s gone crazy. It gets to people and it can get to you or I if we let it. We can’t. God wants us to keep focused on why He brought us into this world.
We have a purpose in this earth and a very finite amount of time to walk it out. What is that purpose? It’s 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 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NKJV)
Our lives can make a difference, impacting and influencing others. If we do it right, opportunities to share the love of Jesus Christ with others will come! When it doesn’t, you’ve still had the opportunity to touch someone with the love of God and don’t ever think for one moment that God doesn’t use that. He does in ways you’ll never know or realize! Jesus has instructed us to “let our light shine before men.” Is that the focus and centralized intent of your day? For many and maybe most, I’d say it’s not! Yet God wants it be.
Life passes so quickly and each day presents so many opportunities to get 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 a 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. That is God’s intent for our daily purpose. Let His love and light shine so strong, that they are affected wanting more!
Last week a man called me. He wanted to know If I would meet him for coffee. 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. He made it his goal to try to emulate what he saw in me. He said it transformed his life. Wow! I was humbled and 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 has told me that. A man who was suicidal called me once. He was going to kill himself when suddenly he said he thought of me. He searched for a way to find my phone number and then called me. He asked if we could talk and I said Yes. His first words were, I’ve been watching you… I invited him over and Renee and I sat at talked with him for three hours. I invited him to receive Jesus as His Lord and Savior and he did immediately! Now he lives wholeheartedly for the Lord. He became a great leader under my leadership and has impacted so many life. This has been an experience I’ve had over and over in my life. All because I purposed to be a light and an influence.
Life is too short to get discouraged, distracted, and depressed. I learned the hard way that 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—even possibly leading them to eternal life through Jesus. What an honor and a privilege. Stuff, toys, and things do not make my life rich. Money, power, carnal fun and entertainment 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 makes 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.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
When letting your light shine before men is what drives your life, your entire life will be better. You’ll become a better person because your character will be transformed by God. Your relationships will be better because you’ve moved from being selfish to selfless! And the icing on the cake is this: you’ll sense and feel more of God’s presence, His love, and His help in your life. Even hard times become good times and every season becomes a better one. Even winter!
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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