Shine as the stars
Marriage had been my lot for about four years and I had a
couple of children when my father asked me how things were going. I replied that
I loved what God had given me but felt that what I was doing had no relevance in
the kingdom of God. When I had been travelling with my family, I had seen people
making a commitment to the Lord at nearly every evening that my father, an
evangelist, had spoken at therefore, the pattern of getting up, clothing and
feeding the children, doing housework and then going to bed at night again didn't
feel spiritually satisfying and I felt useless to the Lord.
In response, my father took me to the greatest written
authority there is -– the Bible. Daniel 12:3 -– "And they that be wise
shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to
righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." He then said, "Do you
realise that there are many unrighteous believers out there and that this verse
is not just talking about non-Christians? In Matthew there are a number of
references as to what happens to those who know the Master's will and do not
do it. (The end is not good.) These ones need to be turned to righteousness.
What do you think is happening when you are taking youth group, having people
over for a meal, helping those in need, telling people about God's work in
your life? You are helping to 'turn many to righteousness'.
I found this thought very encouraging and since then, I have
seen my 'little' work for the Lord in a whole new way and am satisfied that
He is using me for 'His glory'.
There was a man named Johannes on board the ship on which we
currently live. He came to the Philippines where poverty in many areas is rife.
People live in shacks that are built anywhere that there is a gap and are made
of materials that would be thrown straight into the rubbish bin in many
countries. A meal a day is not always a possibility, let alone three of them.
Johannes made friends with a 'street kid', showed him God's practical love
through food, time relating to him and money for his schooling and continued
interest throughout the years. That 'street kid' is a young man now and
living and working for the Lord. He is also making his way through a computer
technician's course. If Johannes hadn't shone, what chance would this young
A young lady came on board and said that she knew everything
about God in her head but none of it was in her heart. (How many people have we
all met like that?) A lady on board took her under her wing and had the
privilege of watching the girl's face get lighter and lighter as the head
knowledge turned into heart knowledge through time spent together talking about
the faithfulness and reality of God. If the lady on board hadn't been
available to shine into this girl's life, would the knowledge of Christ ever
have become real in her heart?
I have often been at my sister's place when she has
received a phone call about someone's need. It was always within a short space
of time that she, having appointed me as her honorary (and not always willing)
chauffeur, would set off with a basket of hot scones fresh from the oven, to do
her best to fill the need. Not many people think that a basket of fresh scones
is evidence of a shining light but it is.
When the names of Francis and Edith Schaeffer come up in
conversation, my thoughts always go to the words that a young visitor spoke
concerning them -– "I believe just as many people came to know the Lord
through Edith's cinnamon buns as they did through Francis' teaching."
Another shining light.
The other day I was listening to a guest speaker who told us
of a very godly man whom I will call Alan. Alan had served the Lord faithfully
for many years and when he was 80+ he was hospitalised and a friend went to
visit him. This friend asked how he was doing physically and spiritually and
Alan answered that things that he thought he had dealt with and was freed from
years ago had really been attacking him in his thoughts and he was feeling very
discouraged and was just holding on to the Lord for all he was worth.
When the visit was over, the friend prayed with him and left
the room. As he was walking down the ward, some nurses stopped him and asked
what it was about the sick man that set him apart. The friend said, "What do
you mean?" The nurses answered that when they were in the sick man's room
and looking after him, they felt a wholesomeness and a cleanness coming from him
that they were not used to receiving in their dealings with some men.
Interesting how God took his offered up struggles and
translated them to purity as a witness to the nurses. If he had not gone to God
for help, would he have shone so brightly to those nurses?
These examples are people living everyday lives and yet God
is using their obedience to make them into effective witnesses for Him. One of
the things I love about Him is that although we have not reached perfection, He
still uses us in this way and changes us from 'glory to glory' at the same
time (II Corinthians 3:18).