July 10, 2006

Amazing Influence, Part 1

Have you even met someone who didn’t stay in your life very long but who changed the way you understand God and life? Or whose influence changed the way you related to people and your expectations of friendship? I have and I liked to share a little about what a couple of them taught me.

First, there was Martin. I met Martin twice within a month and I’m pretty sure I’ll probably never see him again this side of heaven, but God used him to change my perspective on things. Martin is probably the most intensely focused person I can recall meeting. He seemed to know exactly what His direction in life was… following God step by step. Martin had been leading music for a worship service for Crosswalk, was staying in town that night but had to get up early to drive to his home in Kentucky so he could catch a plane heading overseas the next afternoon. It was late before we got everything packed up and out to his car only to find his keys were missing. It was already dark we were standing in an unlit parking lot, a long way from the nearest light. After searching everywhere we could think to look, and going back to the room where the meeting had been held, twice. I used my “special skills” and broke into his car. We did find a flash light in the trunk, but no keys.

Martin was amazingly calm and showed no real signs of annoyance – a little frustrated at not being able to remember where he put his keys – but an amazing attitude overall. He seemed so at peace, not ruffled like I get when things go wrong sometimes. Martin asked me “have you ever noticed how much of a difference the quality of light matters? Watch!” Turning off the headlights which were now shining from my car into his trunk and turning on his flashlight, he observed “A little bit of light helps, but there is still a lot of darkness. I can see in the areas that the little light is directly pointing at but everything else is completely lost in shadow and darkness. Turning the lights of my can back on, he continued “More and brighter light dispels even more darkness. But the shadows are still as black as the night around us. When I compare all this to the Sun shining – there is no real comparison. When the sun is out even the darkest corners are illuminated enough to see what is hiding there. I think that’s how it is in the spiritual world. A little bit of God’s Word, a moment of witnessing to others, turns on a flashlight in the dark world around us. More of God’s Word and a life truly testifying to the Truth of that Word brings even more light. But Jesus – He’s the Sun (I’m pretty sure he intended the pun here). When we encounter Jesus, even the darkest areas of our lives are illuminated. He sees all of us – there is no place to hide. I want to be the brightest light I can be in this world.”

We did eventually find Martin’s keys. They were in the room. The third time we went back in the room, I was beginning to be frustrated for him, he suggested we stop and pray. He asked God to help us to find is keys, but so much more importantly, to show us the reason they were lost. To not overlook the opportunity to learn more about Him in this situation. About that time, God brought us two people who needed to hear about the love of Jesus Christ. Martin spent 20 minutes sharing with them and praying with them. As we got up to leave, I spied his keys, sitting on the desk just behind the computer monitor. What a lesson in attitudes I got that night! I’m pretty sure where ever Martin is, he’s shining bright for God.

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