I came across a prayer this morning that said, “Lord, please surround my children with friends and adults who will point them back to You.” Even though my kids are grown and out on their own, I still find myself praying like this. Even as adults, they still fall down or head down a crooked trail, so I often ask Him to surround them with people who will encourage them to keep their focus.
As I pondered this prayer, my heart felt a nudge. I have this friend at work whose parents are Christians. They come on pretty heavy with her and it’s a huge turn off. Because of this, I tread very lightly. Fact of the matter is, while she knows that I go to church and call myself a Christian, that’s about the long and the short of it. We’ve been friends for years, but outside of work and family, she knows very little about what I’m all about.
I tend to justify my actions – or lack of – with thoughts like, “I don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable with me.” I enjoy her friendship and want her to enjoy being around me. Or sometimes I justify with my fear, because I’m afraid I’ll say the wrong thing and will make Jesus look bad.
This past Sunday, while listening to our pastor teach, I wrote in my journal, “I am His disciple if I lose my life to give life.“ He said something else that really caught my attention, when he used the analogy of a seed. I went on to write, “The purpose of a seed is to die – and more seeds will come from it.” (great message Pastor Curt)
So this brings me full circle back to this little prayer and thinking about my friend. The prayer request was, “…surround my children with friends…who will point them back to You.” And then it hits me…
That “friend” is ME!
Oh wow, how many opportunities have I missed to say something…anything?! I mean, yeah, I’m living my life as a light in many ways. I’m very involved in ministries and serve as God leads me. If you ask me a question, I will definitely answer it for you. In fact, I’ll encourage you to the ends of the earth. I may not be good at planting seeds, but I sure can water them. But I so often miss opportunities to say something when questions are never asked. I stay quiet when I should be speaking. Because it’s outside of my comfort zone.
And the light bulb goes off again….What if I am that person that a family member or friend has prayed to have in another’s life to point them back?!
My friend once told me that I’m the most “real” Christian she knows… because I don’t come on strong, preaching about how her life could be better. And…I remember feeling completely embarrassed and ashamed in that moment. She meant that as a compliment, but I realized then that she had no clue that I was and am SOLD OUT for Jesus Christ…my Savior and Redeemer. And still…I said nothing.
How can I even think of standing before God and saying, “Well…I didn’t want to come on too strong.” Laughable, right?! But that is exactly what I say to Him every single time I pass up an opportunity to point someone to Him; to possibly answer the requests of a praying parent, sibling, child or friend.
The bar has been raised for me, yet again. I often stand behind fear because I don’t know if I can say all the right things, or quote all the right scriptures…
But I do know one thing I can say…”I once was lost, but now I’m found. I once was blind, but now I see. When the weight of my sin and shame was too heavy for me to bear any longer, I took a chance and laid it at the feet of Jesus Christ – and…just as He promises, He redeemed me.”
It’s time to set down the watering can, every now and then, so I can plant some seeds – and anxiously wait to see how He waters them.
– What about you? Have you missed opportunities to plant a few seeds?
We who are strong have an obligation to bear the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. ~Romans 5:1-7 esv