Directions: Read entire article. Ending hope overshadows opening pessimism.

Some days I shake my head in disbelief. Despair falls. My heart grieves. Everything seems to assault God's patience, grace, love, and forgiveness. When I view God's investment in human salvation [definitely including Jesus' life and blood!], I wonder why God does not write humanity off as a bad debt. Thinking humanly, I wonder if God ever thinks, "Why did I make such an enormous effort to save people?"

What causes such days? Often they begin by listening to emphases on "God's priorities" in this life. They continue as the human priorities assigned to God's word reflect our concerns, not God's. They proceed with vivid reminders that societies are devoted to materialistic ambitions, addictions to power, greed, indulging physical desires, exploiting the weak, deceit, manipulations, "just causes" perverted by private agendas, and the judging/condemning attitudes that target the "blindness" of others. They often conclude by human arrogance masquerading as "godly concern."

Contrast my human perspective with God's perspective. God sent His son into a world filled with idolatrous people who did not know Him. He sent Jesus to live among a small, poor people living in an occupied territory.

Jesus lived among a people who so misunderstood God they did not know He had/has a world mission. Their attitude: "if God has us, why should He want other nations?" Wow! His small people living in isolation misunderstood Him as they lived in a world that did not know Him!

So, what was God's incredible plan to change the world? Start with one and let him train twelve. What optimism! [Or would you use another word?]

This one who trained twelve had a simple message for people who trusted his teachings enough to follow him: "You are the salt of the earth and light of the world. You are God's influence to change the world. Let people see what God does in you!" (Matthew 5:13-16)

God's power to change this city, this state, the United States, and the world is not found in incredible preachers, astounding church leaders, mind boggling congregational programs, unbelievable financial strength, or shocking positive statistics. You are God's incredible power to produce positive change. You are God's salt and light. When you have the courage and faith to be God's influence by changing the way you live, God changes the world.

Please, let people see God's influence in your life every day! Let people see God by observing the way you struggle, love, serve, and live!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 13 April 2003

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