Skip to main content

Paint on, Jesus!

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. (1 John 4:11-12 NLT)
It was kind of sobering to me this morning to realize all another may know about Jesus is what they see in me. The example I set, the times my words are judged by my actions, and the moments when God's grace is totally evident in my life may be the only evidence anyone ever gets to experience in this lifetime. That means every moment counts - every word matters - every opportunity to share the grace we have been given is not to be squandered. The evidence of God's love is to be the overshadowing thing another sees when they look upon our lives - for we are the "venue" by which he shares so much about himself!
Albert Schweitzer once said that example was not the main thing we use to influence other people - in fact, he said it is the only thing. Let that one roll around in your heart and mind for just a moment, will you? The example of God's love and grace we exhibit in our ordinary daily life is the ONLY thing that may influence another. Do others see the evidence of God's grace working in our lives, humbling us and revealing just how dependent we are upon his grace to carry us moment by moment? Do they get wrapped up in the intensity of his love toward us because they catch the beat of his heart in the way we love one another? 
God's love is meant to "take expression" within us and it is that expression that is to begin to affect those around us. Expression represents the thing as closely as possible, just in a different "medium" than it first began in. For example, when an artist wants to capture the image of a particular sunset over the calm waters of a serene lake, he begins by putting paint to the canvas - some with small, deliberate strokes - others with larger, bolder and freer strokes. In time, the "medium" of canvas and paint begins to depict the elements of beauty captured in the artist's eye and beheld in his mind. That medium becomes a representation of what is very real, but which depicts for a much longer time what would otherwise be gone in a short period of time. If we all had to remember the sunset in our memory, we'd all lose some of the quality of it over time. The example captured on the medium of canvas allows us to keep that memory fresh.
In much the same way, God uses us as the "medium" by which his full expression of love may be understood, captured time and time again by those who most need a "refresher" in what it is like, how it welcomes one in, and where it begins to bind up the brokenness of one's miserable soul. We are the canvas, his grace and love are the paint, and his hand is what faithfully captures the image of his intense love and places elements of that love and grace into our lives for others to behold. As we consider that today, let us be not so much concerned with the "perfection" of the image as we are in becoming the "medium" upon which he may place whatever image it is that others need to see in order to connect with his love. Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…