Thursday, September 13, 2012

No Neutrality

Nothing in this life is truly neutral in relation to eternity.

Every interaction we have with others is either positive or negative in the light of eternity.  We are either helping them along the way to come to know the Lord initially or we are helping them on their road to rejection of Him.  We are either helping others to know the Lord more or helping them to forsake Him and His Word.  We are either encouraging them in their walk with the Lord or hindering their renewing of their fellowship with the Lord.

Our contact is not neutral.  We are either a positive or negative pole of the magnet.  We are either helping people to live eternally as glorified Christians in the presence and glory of the King of Kings, or we are aiding them to live eternally in the torment and anguish of a lonely, forsaken hell.

That may sound pretty extreme, after all, how can we influence people we have only encountered for a few seconds?

Have you ever had a brief encounter with someone who literally changed your attitude for the day?  Perhaps it was only their smile, or maybe they opened a door for you when your arms were full.  Maybe they let you in front of them in busy traffic.  Such small things, but small things can have a big impact.

Let me tell you about Irene.

I was in line at the grocery store.  My husband had forgotten an item and since the line was moving so
 (Photo credit: Patrick Hoesly)
 slowly he knew he had plenty of time to go back and get it.  I had been called into work on my day off, had just gotten off and was tired. Very tired.  I stood in line in my solitude willing the line to move faster.

An older woman behind me started talking to me.  Basically a shy person, I'm not one to strike up a conversation with strangers too much -- that's what my husband does.  But I answered her questions:  Did I just leave work?  Did I work at a hospital?  Was I a nurse?

Her attitude drew me into the conversation --she was like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. . .warm, sweet and irresistible.  As we were talking, my husband came back and he, too, began to converse with Irene.  By the time we checked out, we felt as if we had known her forever.  We both gave her a big hug and I realized I didn't feel tired anymore, She had been like a dose of medicine.  She had been a positive influence, encouraging me in my walk with the Lord.

We all know what it is like when we meet negative influences. . .but WE can be those negative ones as well.  Even if we aren't blatantly negative, mean or hateful, if we reject the opportunity to be positive, the opportunity is lost to positively influence that person, perhaps forever.

Let us remember that every person we encounter has been put in our path for a reason.  Maybe all we can do is to smile or to say a kind, "Hello," to open a door, or to ease a burden in some way. But we are there for one purpose, to share the love of the Lord Jesus in some way, shape or form.  Let us not lose the opportunities that abound around us.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, 
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:58 

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