AN ENCOURAGER

When I was a child and a young Christian I was told that my Christian witness was - to be different from the other children. I didn't swear, didn't drink, didn't dance, didn't smoke or go to movies; you know, all the things I didn't or wasn't allowed to do. I was also to be different by - going to Sunday School and church every Sunday, by learning Scripture verses, by saying grace before meals in public, by doing good works, by_____________ (add your own) etc. etc. etc. I don't recall leading a friend to Christ through this method. Rather I recall having a sense of being just a little bit better than others!

Over the years I've gone door to door to hand out tracts, to introduce our church and to invite to special events at the church or in the community. I prayed for some people, but I don't recall anyone coming to the knowledge of Christ this way either.

In my adult years I found that taking the time to listen to someone in need, showing someone an unexpected kindness, speaking out against injustice, writing notes of encouragement, keeping confidences, having a cheerful, positive attitude, giving a generous tip, offering to pray for someone whose family member was dying, opened more doors to sharing my faith with people - and usually at their request. I felt that the Lord had gifted me to sow seeds through being an encourager and HE would do the rest.

I honestly don't know how deeply I've influenced people and I don't have any numbers of those who have decided to follow Jesus because of my testimony. Perhaps that's not for me to know. I just tried to show God's love to people in the way I knew how. Whomever the Lord sends across my path today is who He wants me to touch - today.

I do recall that in several friendships with brothers and sisters in Christ, HE gave opportunity for mentoring, for discipling, for admonishing, and for boldly speaking out to help someone in their faith journey. In helping and serving the other, I, too, was blessed.

Just the other day a colleague, an agnostic she told me, was showing such compassion and caring to someone. I shared with her that I knew the source of this personality trait. I told her that her compassion and caring was a gift from God given to her to give to others. She smiled as though I had identified something for her that she had not recognized before. It seemed like a light went on! I know that God is working in her life, even through the fact that she is working at this Christian nursing home.

I just know that I'm not the sharpest or best instrument, but in the Hands of the Master, I pray that I will be useful! He is the One who is all-knowing and has all the power.

10 comments:

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

YesKarin,I too know that if I am willing God can and does use me in unexpected ways.Thanks for this encouraging post.
Blessings,Ruth

Betty said...

You have been a blessing to me Karin! Your thoughts and poems inspire me and always make me want to try better.
Thank you for that!!

karin said...

I'm sure blessed to have found wonderful blog friends! God bless you all!

Wendy said...

Very well said, Karin. When I detach enough (or stand aside, as some people like to say) and let the light work through me, the results are better. Let go and Let God is another way to say this.

Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. You may certainly use my post "A fine line" as you see fit. I feel that we are put on this earth to share and to help one another. I have learned so much through blogging.
Blessings.

McMahon Manifesto said...

You are truly an encouragement and friend to me. Early on the Lord placed Christians in my life who truly reflect Jesus, and I'm so blessed that you are one of them. Jesus said, "by their fruit we will recognize them". Your life and character demonstrate much fruit and you are truly Christlike. You've built into my life in more ways than you know. You are an encourager and I'm so blessed to know you!

Warren Baldwin said...

Great post. You have shared with us your growth in spiritual perspective and maturity. We can set aside specific times and activities to "do" Christian ministry. But, many times Christian ministry just happens as "we are going" (an alternate transl to Matt. 28:19a) about life. Things like listening, helping, etc. Thanks for these thoughts.

Charity Joy Bell Childs said...

We do and accomplish nothing through our own righteousness. Only through the Grace of God. :) Through the Grace of God, I'm sure he has put you up on the top of the table as a shining light to many people who have known you. :)

Monica said...

Karin,
My first time here, and I'm so glad. Thanks for spurring me on to this kind of lifestyle. Have you read "Living Proof" or "The Insider"?
Thinking much about this kind of thing lately.
Blessed to find your place,
Monica

LegalMist said...

I believe you have hit upon a truth, here. Most people do not like to be talked down to, or preached at, or told we are "doing it all wrong"; we do, however, love to be encouraged, loved, and treated with compassion. The people in my life who have lived this truth have earned my appreciation and respect, and have shown me that a life devoted to God can be a beautiful, fulfilling, and meaningful life.

As a child, I so often experienced the judgmental side of Christianity (and some of my "friends" were so... materialistic ... about it ("ask and you shall receive" and "if you are devout, 'God will provide'" - almost implying that if my family wasn't rich it was because we didn't pray enough)) that I was very turned off by organized religion.

The kind words and actions of Christians I have met in more recent times, Christians who seem to practice a more loving, less judgmental, and less materialistic variety of Christianity, have restored my faith, if not in organized religion, then at least in God himself.

karin said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and adding to my life! Bless you!