Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Snapshots of Influence

I used to have a staff supervisor that used the expression "Let's land this plane.". He usually used it in the context of staff meetings or any time something needed to come to an end. May seems to be the month to "land the plane". It has become one of the busiest months of my year. I have been invited to awards banquets, end of the year concerts, pastor appreciation lunches, end of season tournaments, graduations, and ministry celebration events. The seat belt sign has come on and you can feel the landing gear coming down.

Please don't hear me complaining about a busy schedule. I am not. In fact, my point is the exact opposite. I believe as Christ-followers we need to be keenly aware of seasons such as this, and all of us have them. There are times at work, church, school, athletics, etc... that God gives us venues for "snapshots of influence". Maybe it is just a short conversation, an encouraging word, a brief show of compassion, or a promise of prayer, but God will open up opportunities to extend His gospel and Kingdom through us if we simply will pay attention and be obedient.

I will never forget the conversation I had with a couple who is currently attending our church. They started coming to our early service a few months ago. I was greeting people one Sunday morning and they stopped to introduce themselves. The husband is a city employee and said that they were first time guests. Each December our church hosts a Christmas luncheon for all the employees of our city, from the Mayor and city council to maintenance personnel. I was invited last year to say an opening word and prayer at this lunch. I spoke of what a privilege it was to be with them, how blessed we were to have such a wonderful city to live in and the employees that make it run so efficiently, and the reason for the gathering that day which was to celebrate the birth of a Savior. I prayed over them, and, of course, shared a meal with them. The husband of the couple recounted the Christmas luncheon to me and said that something about that time had stuck in his mind. So much so that he and his wife decided to attend our church months later. They are still attending.

All said, you never know what fruit a quick word, a short prayer, or a small witness might have in someone's life. My encouragement to you and me is not to allow the busyness of life to push us past these moments of possible influence. Don't run so fast through your day, week, month, or year that you can't recognize the opportunities God is giving you to exert influence for His sake. Take a breath, open your eyes and ears, say a quick prayer, and extend Christ's love and compassion to those God places in your path.

Now, off to a luncheon.....


Pastor Jim