It’s the Little Things

Do you sometimes wonder if you make a difference for God in your daily life? Do you question where or what is your ministry/service? I believe that sometimes we have the wrong idea about making a difference. We might see someone who is obviously sharing Christ in a way that many people notice. But often, the greatest ministry is simply one on one. When I retired from full-time work I struggled in my mind a bit about this. I knew that God had placed me in my workplace to make a difference. But, when I was mostly at home, and an empty nester, who could I influence for Christ? I have come to realize that God will provide opportunities in places we least expect. A friend once prayed that we should allow God to interrupt our lives and plans. Easy to say; not so easy to do.

When the Covid “thing” all started, everyone (or almost everyone) was wearing masks. We could not see each other’s faces or expressions. I found that most people I passed in parking lots, grocery stores, etc. would not even make eye contact. I decided to make a point to speak to those I passed, even if they didn’t look at me. A few would respond and some even looked startled or surprised that I spoke. Many, however, ignored me (or maybe they just didn’t hear me?). That only reinforced my determination to speak and smile to those I encountered. 

Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Probably, like you, I often meet people and think something complimentary about them. Maybe they are doing their job with excellence. Maybe they exhibit a good attitude, even when interacting with a public that are not so kind. Maybe they have a beautiful smile. You get the point. Well, several months ago, I decided that rather than just thinking those things, I would share them with the person. Now, I am careful not to speak things to a person who may take it as flirting. But, as you have heard, “if you see something, say something”. I kind of use that as my thought. If I think something positive, I should say it.

Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

I also speak to people with words other than “Hi, how are you?” It seems like when we say that we all simply give an expected reply without really being truthful or expressing that we “see” or “recognize” the person. So, I began changing my verbiage. Instead of saying, “Hi, how are you?” I might say something like, “Are you having a good day?” or “Did you have a nice Christmas/weekend, etc.?” This has often brought about great conversations and expressions of surprise and thankfulness that someone had “seen” and “recognized” THEM, not just expected pleasantries. It has blessed me as I have simply really listened to people. I have prayed for some, and they are now on my prayer list. I have been able to help some with a need. It’s been incredible and I realized that everywhere I go, I take God with me and am on mission with Him. It has been life changing.

Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

I hope my experiences will encourage you if you feel like you aren’t making much of a difference. Sometimes a smile makes a huge impact on people. Add a word of greeting to that and you’ll be amazed. You will get some who ignore but the ones who respond far outweigh those who don’t. May God bless you as you go forth representing Him.

Gifts – part 2 {8.2.18}

Using our gifts. Hopefully by now you have identified at least one or some of your gifts. The big question is – are you using your gifts? Sometimes it’s a gift, or gifts, that God has given us to use in our careers. Often though, we look at it through the eyes of the world and can’t imagine how we can support ourselves using these gifts. There comes a moment of decision. Do we follow the path God has given us or stay in our comfort zone?gifts back to god There is usually transition time involved, kind of like stepping into cold water one step at a time.  It’s sometimes a very fine line to know when and if to “step out of the boat” (or box where we have been comfortably living). That was a situation my cousin and his wife faced several years ago. [Their story is in my post titled “GIFTS- part 1 {7.24.18}”.] They decided to take the leap of faith and have not looked back. God has allowed them to provide for their needs and they are enjoying the life He planned for them. In the process of loving their life, they are giving joy to many others by using their artistic gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

My job for the past 20 years has been incredible. I was able to use my gifts that God had grown through my life experiences.gifts require work I mean this in a very nice way but raising five children gave me a lot of practical experience – enough said. I have thoroughly enjoyed my job. The company is wonderful and has integrity and values that match mine. While now I only work occasionally, I still enjoy it. That’s not always the case though. Many do not enjoy their jobs.  If not, prayerfully consider a change. But, maybe you are there for a reason that you just don’t see yet. Keep your spiritual eyes and ears open. Answers come – just not always in our timing.

Maybe your gifts aren’t to be necessarily used in a business/career way but rather to bless others in your family or community. Using our gifts to help, bless or encourage others is a wonderful use of them.

Romans 12:13 – “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Maybe you earn a great living and can share monetarily. Your gift may be cooking or baking which gives you opportunity to share with a shut-in, someone sick or a new mother or neighbor. gifts used for othersDo you love to work in a garden or lawn? Perhaps you know someone who could use some help. If you have a skilled trade, you can help someone while saving them money on repairs needed around their home. Some people have no way to and from doctor appointments, grocery shopping, etc. If you like to drive and meet people, this may be an opportunity for you to use your gift. Do you love to clean? I’ve heard some people do (smiling as I type this). I’m sure you can find a place that needs your help. Me, I enjoy quilting. Even more, I enjoy making quilts as gifts, specifically designed for the recipients. That brings me great joy.

Proverbs 3:27 says “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”

The point is, just like any skill we have – if we don’t use it, we may lose it. Let’s consider our gifts and what it is we are doing with them. Maybe God has a better plan than the one we’ve been using.

Hebrews 13:16 – “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased