"Dwight! I just got in from Minneapolis where I met Gordon Glenny who said God used you to change his life."
I blurted out, as I fumbled to remember who on earth Gordon Glenny isor was. Then I recalled some 20 years ago approaching a young fellow who was headed for the mission field. I remember wondering if he faithfully practiced, or even understood how to spend time with God meditating on His word. So I sat him down and said, "Gordon, I dont know what you know or dont know but Ive lived in foreign countries as a missionary and I know how tough it can get. Unless you know how to sustain yourself spiritually, you will not survive. May I show you how?" And with that I spent about 45 minutes with Gordon, teaching him this skill of prayerfully meditating on Gods word. 45 minutes and it changed his life?!
Some years ago we dined with a couple who were also on their way to the mission field. I remember thinking, "These people are not ready for this." But I felt constrained not to say anything. They were so excited. So young and idealistic. And so immature spiritually. Well, they lasted 3 years as missionaries. The husband had an affair and the family disintegrated. I wonder if 45 minutes with them might have made a difference.
When I was a college freshman, Dr. John Alexander, a university professor, took me aside and listened to my woes and frustrations. He listened and cared. And it was life-changing. I could not get over the fact that this remarkable man of God valued me and took me seriously.
As a college student I read a book by missionary veteran, David Adeney that profoundly affected my life. 30 years later I ran into Dr. Adeney, who was now in his late 70s. Late in the evening I was able to have about 10 minutes with him as I accompanied him back to his room at a conference center. That brief exposure to this gracious man of God continues to influence me. And of course, he had no idea of his profound influence on me.
All around us are struggling folks with good hearts. Many have never had any personal coaching on how to walk with God. Many would welcome a kind word of affirmation or encouragement. In our self-absorption, we can so easily walk past these people and miss a God-ordained opportunity to make a significant difference in their lives.
My friend, if you are walking with God, dont underestimate the unimaginable impact you can have on another person by simply loving them, and caring enough to risk by getting into their life. Could it be that most of our relationships with fellow believers are characterized by benign indifference? Not hate, not angerjust indifference. May God help us to not miss His ordained opportunities for us.
"We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives meYou’ve been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, troubles, sufferings" (Col. 1:28b, 29; 2Tim. 3:10,11a The Message)