Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Difference Makers

For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:7-8 NASB
One of the responsibilities of a pastor is to serve families in times of loss.  Of course none is as evident as when death occurs.  It is the pastor’s responsibility to officiate funerals for people of all ages, backgrounds, races, faith and economic status.  It’s interesting what you learn through this experience over time.  The greatest lesson I have learned is the people who truly make a difference in individual’s lives are seldom people of fame or fortune but what we might call the simple people of life.
As Paul reviews the tough circumstances of his life he reflects on who made a difference for him.  He writes to the members of a little church in Philippi; a congregation who of believers seldom recognized as leading the charge for Christianity.  They are known for their faith and support of the work of others.  They are the ones who undergird the faith and the ministers sharing the gospel.
Think about it.  Are the ones who have impacted your life the most superstars in the world’s eyes or unknown except to you?  Are they powerful people in society or just humble servants?  I know the answer.  It’s a grandmother, a faithful friend, a loving spouse or just a guy at work.
Officiating funerals it is sad at times to see a very small crowd at the service of a lady or man that I know to have been a powerful force of faith and support to others.  Their work was not publicized, they built no great structures or organizations and their circle of friends may have already gone on before them.  But seated in the room are those who know they were a hero.  Their love and faithfulness has provided the foundation for the success of many in the family.  Their church friends know they have been there for them in dark times and walked with them through hard journeys.
This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our church has taken the opportunity to raise awareness of all cancer and the impact on individuals and families.  Walking the journey with families dealing with cancer you learn a lot about them.  Being allowed into the intimate relationships that make up families the pastor is able to see real family dynamics.  While the focus is on the victim of cancer, there are others who capture your attention.  The ones that really stand out are the caregivers.  They have stopped their lives to come aside and care for victim of cancer.  They don’t do it out of guilt but love.  The one with cancer does not know how they could possibly go on without them.  But few in the world know their name or the extent of what they do.
Paul’s heart was touched by those who stuck it out with him when others forgot him and stated that they were “partakers of grace” with him.  That means they received the power of God to do what they did even as he had.  God would bless them even He would Paul.
Take some time to thank the difference makers in your life.  They are not the authors of books you have read or the hosts of talk shows; they are the simple people who faithfully walk through the course of life with you…regardless where it leads.

Scripture to Claim:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.  Philippians 1:3-5 NASB

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