You Might Be Making a Difference Without Even Realizing It
A lesson I’ve learned over the last couple of weeks is that sometimes you might be making a difference without even realizing it. I shouldn’t be surprised by this. I pray for this all of time. I even claim this as a positive confession from time to time. In fact, I have some daily positive affirmations that I have saved in the notes in my phone. One of them says, “People see Jesus in me. I win people over by the way I live without saying a word.” One of my heart’s desires is making a difference in the lives of the people I encounter. Sometimes though, I just don’t even know I’m doing it!
Dare I say the worst semester ever?
OK, I’ll try to make a very long story short here. This past semester of teaching was…well…horrendous to put it lightly. I mean, it was bad. So bad that I came very, very close to turning in my resignation. The college class that I teach had undergone a complete overhaul and the outcome was an exponential increase in my workload and a decrease in pay…and nearly a complete loss of autonomy, and a severe increase in stress, and tremendous loss of time with my family, and loss of joy in teaching, and… OK I’ll stop there.
This workload (and everything else) also increased significantly for the students as well. It actually felt like our class and new changes were hurting the students instead of helping them. Grades were significantly down compared to previous semesters, and more students were failing than ever before. This is what weighed on me the most because I truly believe in making a difference in a positive way in the lives of my students, and this class typically allows for that. However, that was not the case this semester. Or so I thought.
Making a difference? Yeah right! How about: A lost cause
Last week we discussed how your gift will make room for you. We also mentioned that our gifts should advance the kingdom of heaven. One of the primary purposes of our gifts is to point people to God. Through our gifts, people will see God in us. People will see that God gave each of us a variety of unique talents and abilities that could have only come from God. Our gifts can serve as an avenue to reach people for God or to speak into the lives of others.
“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12 (NLT)
Unfortunately, you CAN use your gift without acknowledging God.
It is completely possible to operate in your gifts and use them well but still not point people to God. Unfortunately, we see it every day in the secular world. You don’t have to be Christian to be gifted—God has gifted EVERYONE. You also don’t have to be Christian to figure out that you can use your gifts to become prosperous. There are droves of celebrities worldwide that are not Christians. They have discovered their gifts and have used them to get wealth, fame, honor and influence. God MEANT for our gifts to do this…but that’s only half of their purpose. Additionally, God intended for our gifts to direct others back to Him, to point people to God which is where the gifts came from in the first place. We need to keep in mind that someday God will hold us accountable for how we used our gifts too.
God is absolutely big enough and powerful enough to not only use our gifts to bless us but to point people to Him without it removing any of the benefits. We will NOT suffer if we use our gifts to glorify God.Continue reading →