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.