Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Writing Your Life's Letter

In our church circle, missionaries come home every few years and travel from one supporting church to another, giving stewardship reports and sharing encouragement. Years ago a missionary from India challenged us, "Each one of you should be able to stand up at any time and share fifteen-minute's worth of what God is doing in your life. If you don't have that much to share, you need to get busy." In my mind, I often stop and wonder what I would share if I had fifteen minutes to tell someone what God's doing. That's where this blog comes in.

As I consider what I would say--or write--to supporting churches and individuals, I think about what's important. How am I using the gifts and abilities God has given? What if others were footing the bill? Would that make a difference in how I use what I have?

If I had to justify the use of money this last month, how it was used for the Lord and His kingdom, how much would I have to tweak? Could I share honestly and judiciously with a clear conscience?

If I was called on to explain the use of my time--both professional and personal--it would be obvious who's important. Would my time reflect more love for God or for myself? Would someone who loves the Lord wholeheartedly provide financial support based on the way I spent my time?

And relationships. Am I intentional about building relationships with those who don't know Christ? Do I seek and invest in people regardless of how they make me feel, or whether or not I have to leave my comfort zone? What drives my relationships and the ways I choose to give of myself, even within our local church Body? Who do my friendships belong to? Me or God?

You'll notice I'm not going to answer my own questions--at least not here and now--but it's something I think of often. I ask myself, "If I sat down and wrote a letter like the apostle Paul, or my missionary friends, how would it encourage others? Would I be able to say, as Paul said, 'Follow me as I follow Christ?'" How about you? What would your letter say?

The truth of the matter is, our life is being recorded. There is an eternal record and it's not based on what others give us. It's a real-time, honest, can't hide-behind-curtain-number-two account of what the Lord has given. And, though we may not speak of it often, there will be a day we stand before Almighty God and justify the use of those gifts: time, money, relationships. May He be pleased by our dependence and trust in Him as we live each month, each day, each moment, for His glory, by His grace.

we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;  and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:6-21)

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