|THE JOYFUL NOISE
I preached a couple of weeks ago about being salt and light to those around us and how Jesus tells us that if we lose our saltiness, we are no longer good for anything. We don’t often think about losing our faith, but, according to scripture, it can happen. And as I explored how and why, I came to a very simple conclusion. We don’t lose our saltiness by not missing church. Nor can we lose our faith by not reading the Bible. Jesus is telling us that we lose our saltiness when we stop sharing our faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, we lose our faith by not sharing it.
Do you share stories about your faith with anyone? I encourage you to think about how God has worked in your life and who might really benefit from hearing about it. Yes, there is someone in your life right now who would benefit from hearing how God has worked in your life. No, I’m not talking about evangelism! I’m talking about you sharing your faith experience when the opportunity arises. We do this because God calls us to do so, but more importantly, we do it because by doing so our faith is renewed. It energizes our spiritual life! I guarantee it will!
I shared a story of faith in that sermon, a story about working with children in Yakima, Washington one summer long ago when I was studying to be a minister. The children I worked with were poorly behaved, had no manners and hated to work. I was tasked with leading them in work for five days a week for a month. It was an impossible task and I began to regret taking the position. Then one morning we were starting our work weeding a yard and I noticed that Tommy, our seven-year-old, was looking pretty sad. I asked his older brother what was going on. He told me that yesterday was Tommy’s birthday and his dad was supposed to come home and sing happy birthday. Well, he never showed up. And instead, his mom got drunk. Some birthday!
It hit me in the heart and I realized how rough these kids had it at home. They didn’t have loving, responsible parents. I dropped my judgment of their behavior, and began to see them as God saw them, as His children, loveable just the way they were. God needed me as a vehicle to work through.
They had no loving parents to take care of them. The mom was a drunk and dad was never around. I realized that God put me there to be salt and light to these children and to show them that there were people who could and would love them; to help them see that there was more in life that what they had experienced. After work that day I went down and bought Tommy a new pair of sneakers and also bought four cupcakes and some candles so we could sing happy birthday to him the next day.
We finished up early the following day and headed to the park to eat lunch. We sat there eating our boloney and cheese sandwiches in silence. I asked Tommy, “I know it was your birthday a couple of days ago. I didn’t know about it. Would you mind if we celebrated with you now?” He looked at me bewildered and said, “Yah, OK.” I pulled out his present and gave it to him. He looked at it wideeyed, “For me?” I responded, “Yes, for you.” He ripped open the package and found the new shoes. He quickly put them on and ran around in the grass. It was the first time I saw Tommy smile that whole time we were together.
We sang happy birthday to him while he looked at the cupcake and then back to the shoes, beaming from ear to ear. It was my happiest moment with these kids. It helped me realize that my being there meant something to these children.
God wants us to be available when He needs to reach someone. After all, he had someone willing to share when it came time for you to hear to good news. Why not send up a prayer right now and ask God to remind you of your story, what he has done in your life. That will fire you up and someone is certain to be blessed!
Peace and grace!
IN OUR THOUGHTS AND IN OUR PRAYERS:
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