The world tries to tell you that you are only responsible for yourself, and sometimes that even isn’t something that is taught. But the Bible speaks about an integrity the world does not understand. We have a great responsibility, as well as many responsibilities along the way. If we want to live for Jesus, we must be intentional. If we desire to walk in faithful obedience, we cannot ignore our responsibilities.
In Deuteronomy 22, we read about someone coming upon their neighbor’s wandering sheep or goat. The verse tells us that the person should take it and return it to its owner. This speaks of an expectation that consists of going above and beyond. It might require you to go out of your way. It might require you to spend some extra time to get it done. Part of you may justify just keeping the sheep, clinging to the phrase, “Finders keepers.”
Going the extra mile glorifies God. Not ignoring the opportunity to help bless someone glorifies God. Don’t ignore these opportunities that come your way. Consider this opportunity to be a gift. Go the extra mile and watch what happens.
“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.” – Deuteronomy 22:1 [NLT]
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
This past weekend was graduation. I walked into a room full of classmates uncertain of what to expect for the actual ceremony. We had practice the evening before, but I was not familiar with the different meaning of the cords and tassels that were being distributed. As I was handed my cords, I thought to myself, don’t I get the gold ones because most people were wearing gold cords. It seemed to me that the thing to have was those gold cords. I had to ask what the different cords meant to understand how things work and to my surprise, I was given different cords because I was the Class Salutatorian and therefore had these other colored cords for the honors.
This got me thinking about how we always seem to drift toward that which is common among others. If we see most people driving a particular car, buying a particular television, making a particular amount of money, participating in certain events, getting particular grades, etc., we want to do that too because everyone seems to be doing it so isn’t that the way to go?
The issue is that God made us unique and we shouldn’t be considering our performance based on how others are doing in life. We should see our worth in Christ and find our identity there alone. For some of us, we will get gold cords. For others, we won’t reach the gold cords. For some, we will get the spots above the gold cords. The cord color changes with each situation in life. But at the end of the day, we need to remember to follow the path God has presented and not look to get a gold cord at all, even if most everyone has the gold cords. It could be possible that He wants to do something else for you, something that will bring Him greater glory.
Today, I challenge you to see if you have been aiming for gold cords in an area of your life when God wants to do so much more to display His glory to those around you.
“I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” – Psalm 86:12
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 [NASB]
There are so many people who are not saved. Christians received the “Great Commission” to spread the Gospel. It’s not something to take lightly. And yet, how many actually treat the responsibility as a true responsibility? It seems some get their “I am saved card,” store it in their wallet, and keep on keeping on. I find it’s important to remember that if someone didn’t invest the time to speak to you about the Gospel, you wouldn’t be saved. Is it not proper to invest some time to do the same? Is it not requested of us?
Most certainly, there is another angle to look at when discussing the spread of the Message. Some people simply look at the actually time period when a person is providing testimony to a non-believer; however, sharing the Gospel is a lot more than using your voice alone. You need to live the Message. People see your actions. Your actions share Christ or share something so un-Christ-like, that causes people to stereotype Christians and turn far from God.
This past week, I entered a convenience store to purchase some gasoline. As I stood in the line to make my purchase, one person stood before me. The cashier asked if the gentleman wished to purchase a candy bar for the local Y.M.C.A. Without hesitation, the man responded, “What do they do for me”?!? The cashier replied, “Well the organization keeps the kids off the street.” The man then said, “So, that has nothing to do with me,” and he left the store.
That man was a high school teacher. He’s a man who was entrusted to teach children. When he was hired to teach children, he thereby became a representative of the school district. Sadly, he didn’t see the importance in keeping the children he taught off the street. Simply put, his job was a matter of putting in the time and going home. As a representative of the school district, he surely causes one to question the school itself. His uncaring actions also may result in people believing he has a lack of compassion. In the same way as this teacher misrepresented the school district, we can misrepresent Christ.
People who know we are Christians and see us judging or acting inappropriately, may possibly see a Christ they don’t want any part of simply because of our actions. We may not even realize that we are causing people to turn away from Christ. People may see us get all dressed up for Sunday and have our moment of “religion,” and then go back to a life of anything not including Christ for the rest of the week. God isn’t a jack-in-the-box that we just wind up on Sunday for Him to pop into our lives for a day. If we expect to show people Christ, I think it’s important to let our light shine– because our light comes from the Holy Spirit. As we share our light, the light gets brighter.
Don’t be discouraged to share your testimony. Do walk in caution when trying to share Christ. Remember if you wish to share the Message, you should allow the Holy Spirit to direct you. Also, don’t forget if you are a Christian, that when you share the Message, it’s important to live the Message. How sad it is when we push a lost sheep further out to pasture, because it is much harder to get that sheep back. I like to steer clear of judgment, and always let a person know that I am a work in progress. If we humble ourselves and admit our faults, we don’t show the non-believer that we perceive ourselves to be perfect. If we say anything other than God is perfect, we leave open the possibility for future problems to arise. Shine your light– share your life.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Peter 2:12 [NIV]