When God smiles

... the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.  -Numbers 6:25-26

I heard an interesting perspective this week on disciple-making:

"It's a huge burden we carry - this idea that we're responsible for everyone's salvation. We're really not. We're only responsible for loving those in front of us."  -Darren Mulligan of We Are Messengers

Think about that. Firstly, I can't even save myself, much less anyone else. Salvation belongs to our GOD (Rev. 7:10); it's His work. So abandon the idea that I am responsible for the saving. Secondly, to take on "the world" is beyond my capacity; to pretend otherwise is a recipe for frustration and eventual burnout.

But can I love the person in front of me? Yes, I can. More accurately, God can, through me. Because honestly, in my own power, I have neither the know-how nor the will to sustain even that. As a Christian, however, I have the Holy Spirit living inside me. As I abide in Christ, the Spirit transforms me into His image, enabling me to act beyond myself. Let me give you an example of what this looks like from one of the guys in my foxhole.

Steve, feeling a bit parched on a late-summer day, had slipped into a local deli to grab some Southern refreshment - a tall iced tea. A big, burly, biker-type guy, complete with sleeveless t-shirt and lots of "body art", was in line ahead of him. The biker placed his order, then discovered he had left his wallet outside. As he went out to retrieve it, Steve decided to pay for the big fella's meal. He was at the drink counter, adding lemon and sweetener in measured quantities to achieve his personal version of fresh-brewed perfection, when the biker returned and found out what had happened. He ambled over and expressed his appreciation, then sat down to eat.

Nice story, right? But wait - there’s more! As he was leaving the place, Steve felt the Spirit tugging at his heart. "Say something to him. Give him a good word." He stopped off at the big guy's table, not knowing what he was going to say or do. Nervously laying his hand on the gentleman's shoulder, he said, "I'm not sure why, but I feel compelled to tell you that God loves you. He knows you and He has plans for your life. You have good days ahead of you." The man's eyes filled with tears as he looked up at Steve. He said, "For two years I've been running from God, but you are the third stranger who has come up to me in the last week, out of the blue, and said something like that. I think it's time to quit running. Thank-you for being obedient."

Steve was stunned, humbled that not only would God invite him into Kingdom work, but that He would pull back the curtain and let him experience the difference his obedience had made.

Don't you love it when you get to feel God smiling on you? When you know you've made Him proud? When He nudges a nearby angel and says, "Did you see that? That's my boy!"

When we talk about Convoy, that's what we're talking about. Heads up, eyes open, watching for those opportunities to love like Jesus does, and being obedient to His leading. The person who is standing in front of me might be the cashier who could use a smile, the stranger who needs a hopeful word, the friend who needs someone to listen to his story, or my wife who needs to hear that if I had it all to do over again, there's no one else I'd rather make this journey with than her.

I hope you're making plans to jump into the Convoy conversation as we meet at the Lodge this Friday, Nov 2, 6:15 AM. Chris Kotter will share an amazing story of healing and restoration. It's an example of how we convoy one another in order to equip ourselves to convoy those in our care. Bring a friend - it won't save them, but it's a chance to love them. And when we do that, God smiles. What happens beyond that? Watch and see what the Spirit does!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  -Zephaniah 3:17

Scott Thompson