On this particular day of errand running I was listening to Paul Tripp’s series, “Forever”. In this series Paul Tripp addresses our need for an eternal perspective as we live out our lives as believers. God took an ordinary, busy, activity filled, me driven day and spoke into my heart creating great shame (well the shame was self-created) and conviction (God-created).
Paul told the story of a conversation that he had with the previous manager of the restaurant on the top floor of the World Trade Center…”Top Of The World” (the name being rather ironic). This conversation took place approximately three weeks after the tragedy of 9/11. Paul related how this man could barely speak through the sobs as he shared with Paul. On the morning of 9/11 the restaurant held a corporate breakfast with over 200 employees in attendance, but, the manager was unable to attend because he had a doctor’s appointment. The manager shared how, in a moment of time, he lost all of his employees. He went on to share that he had spent the last few weeks attending the funerals of his employees. He spoke of the mom that told him about how smart and sweet her son was, the wives that spoke of their husbands, husbands that spoke of their wives, children that spoke of their parents…..and on and on….people sharing about the people in their lives that had great meaning to them and are now gone. Through the sobbing the man went on to confess the reality of the situation to Paul. The manager told Paul that to him these “people” were nothing more than dishwashers, cooks, hosts, waiters and waitresses, bus-boys….etc. He did not really know them at all!
Paul used this story as an illustration of how many of us go through our busy lives interacting with “people who are no longer people” to us. You see these “people” have become the “guy at the bank”, the “lady at the drive through”, the “lady behind the counter”, and the “guy at the gas place”…..rather that a person with a story. All of us have a story that we are living and all of us live our story in the perspective of eternity, though we may not realize it. Our lives here on earth “are but a vapor” and then we will spend an eternity either in misery and damnation in Hell or in great joy and celebration with Jesus.
Here lies the great problem…..many of us live our lives never engaging in the lives of the people God has divinely put into our path. Wait, stop a minute! Do not read through the last sentence quickly…read it again. No really, read it again…..”many of us live our lives never engaging in the lives of the people God has divinely put into our path.” Does that not grip your heart? There are men, women, boys, girls, moms, dads, grandmas, and granddads, everywhere, that God has placed in our lives for the purpose of becoming involved in their story. Yet, we are so consumed with our story that their story does not matter. Think for a moment of all of the “people” you come in contact with every day, but you do not really know them. What is their name? Do they have family close by? Are they married/single? What are their interest? Are they happy/sad? Do they have needs? What is their story? And here is the big one….Does this person have a personal relationship with Jesus? This is what life is all about. No one will experience true life without Christ. God has given you and me an opportunity to share true life with people. What a privilege! Guys, we have the opportunity to be salt and light. We can impact the world for the cause of Christ. We can impact people for the cause of Christ! If we have the greatest news ever, how is it that we are living out our (God-given) story with our eyes covered to the stories being lived out all around us? When will it not be all about me?
Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (emphasis mine) Matthew 22:37-39
Here is the good news….God desires us to live out these commandments. He desires that we impact the lives of others. He desires that we glorify Him as we become intimately involved in the lives of others. So guess what…He will produce this fruit in us as we surrender our all to Him! We cannot do this in our strength. We must be utterly dependent. God-dependence begins only when self-dependence ends.-Manley Beasley
We need YOU Lord! We desperately need YOU!