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Posts Tagged ‘Positive Influence’

(As most of you know, Steve is retiring from the pastorate, after serving forty years in Florida. Very shortly we move to the Midwest, to be close to our sons and their families. If our daughter and her family would just move east from Washington State, life would be near-perfect!

No doubt you’re also aware that packing and unpacking are time-consuming tasks, so I’m putting the blog on hold for a few weeks. But please continue to visit! I’ll re-blog some previous posts, and hopefully you’ll find them meaningful again, or perhaps for the first time.

The following post was first published 5-16-13.)
220px-E-W-Wilcox

“With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see”

(Ella Wheeler Wilcox, author and poet, 1850-1919).

Observation #1:

We never know when a small deed may plant a seed of faith or encouragement. We never know when that seed will reap a bountiful harvest in the life of someone else.

Live attentively to the fact that every deed is a seed. The people around us are watching and listening. Perhaps you’re familiar with the story of a church elder who once led a worship service for two. It happened over 150 years ago in England. A blizzard on Saturday night made it impossible for villagers to get to the church—including the pastor.

 

Oakwood_Park,_London_N14_-_snow_storm_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1146589

 

The elder almost sent home the two individuals who had come, an older man and a young boy. But something (Someone?) compelled him to speak. Later he confessed his words came out rather jumbled and brusque.

But. The elder planted a seed that immediately took root. The young boy accepted Jesus as his Savior that day. His name? Charles Spurgeon—preacher and author extraordinaire, whom God used mightily. People are still impacted by his writings to this day. (For an example of Dr. Spurgeon’s God-given genius, see the post, “Not Length But Strength,” from May 9, 1913).

 

Observation #2:

Our responsibility is the planting of “deed seeds”; the harvest is up to God.

The same principle that works in the physical realm works in the spiritual realm: A farmer may plant, fertilize, and water, but the germination of each seed is a miracle only God can bring about. Don’t become tightly focused on results.

The elder who led Charles to the Lord that snowy, wintry day, had no idea the boy would grow up to have such a profound effect on the world. The gentleman may not have lived long enough to see the results of his deed that morning. But we know, and we marvel.

 

Observation #3:

The true harvest is not measurable in physical terms, and it’s hidden from view in the spiritual realm.

Only now and then does God give us a glimpse of what our small deeds are accomplishing. Perhaps God planned it that way so pride and self-gratification do not taint the glory of the harvest.

Imagine the joy that elder continues to experience every time a saint comes through the gates of heaven–fourth and fifth generation Christians, who have been influenced by Charles Spurgeon, whose ancestors accepted Jesus because of him. In addition, thousands  have been influenced and encouraged by the preacher’s writings.

And it all began with that faithful elder.

You see, the positive influence of a man or woman of God never dies.

 

4 T

 

Such a possibility should translate into enthusiastic motivation for planting seeds wherever we go.

 

(Art and photo credits:  www.wikimedia.org and http://www.wikipedia.org.)

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“I even wash aluminum foil so I can use it again–if it’s not too messy,” joked a friend.  “My son makes fun of me, but that’s what my mother did, and I just picked up the habit.  Seems so wasteful to throw away a perfectly good piece of foil, just because it has a bit of goop on it.”

We were discussing the frugal habits passed down to us from our parents. They were children during the Great Depression, and learned to conserve, reuse, and make do.  Now, eighty years later, the effects of that difficult time are still impacting many of us today.

Might the same effect occur in the spiritual realm?  Might our spiritual habits not only impact those around us, but even generations to come?

Legacy-Postcard

An anonymous psalmist alluded to our long-reaching influence:  “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.  His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed…his righteousness endures forever” (Psalm 112:1-3).

James Moffatt (1870-1944), theologian and professor, also spoke poetically of our ongoing influence:  “Death is never the last word in the life of a…man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.”

42-21217958

Who has left “something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty” in your life?  I am surrounded by the examples of:

  • my grandparents’ perseverance
  • my father’s wisdom
  • my mother’s resiliency
  • a favorite teacher’s sense of humor
  • a choir director’s positive attitude

To name a few.

When I was a small child, our family’s pastor called each of us girls “Little Miss Sunshine.”  I found myself trying to live up to the name.  Now, decades later, I still feel the influence of his affirmation.

As a teenager I benefited greatly from the examples of various youth sponsors.  One married couple in particular took me under their wings and mentored me.  Their example of integrity, service, and caring, lived out in a loving home, remain with me to this day.

And so many more!  We really are composites of the countless influences we’ve absorbed.

Now, it’s our turn to pass on a worthwhile legacy.  We mustn’t give in to the notion that Generations X and Y will always find us irrelevant.  One day they’ll realize older persons have the benefit of experience, and experience gives rise to wisdom.  And whether we are present on that day or not, our example will be.

Most of what they absorb will not be the words we have spoken.  They will remember our actions.  Kids watch and learn–sometimes intentionally, but most of the time not.

learning-by-observing

We are the ones who need to be intentional, living out a legacy of character and faith, to be a perfume of blessing.  If we do, the fragrance of our Christian maturity will permeate the atmosphere for years to come.

We can also be encouragers.  Others will remember positive affirmations.  At least one Little Miss Sunshine can attest to that.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

(Photo credits:  www.jeaninemurk.com ; http://www.telegraph.co.uk ; http://www.inspiredwednesdays.blogspot.)

 

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English: Portrait of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Fron...

English: Portrait of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Frontispiece from her book of poems “Three Women” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

                                                                                                                                              

“With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.”

–Ella Wheeler Wilcox, author and poet (1850-1919)

Observation #1:

We never know when a small deed may plant a seed of faith or encouragement that will reap a bountiful harvest in the life of someone else.

Live attentively to the fact that every deed is a seed. The people around us are watching and listening.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the story of a church elder who once led a worship service for two. It happened over 150 years ago in England. A blizzard on Saturday night made it impossible for villagers to get to the church—including the pastor.

English: Oakwood Park, London N14 - snow storm...

The elder almost sent home the two individuals who had come, an older man and a young boy. But something (Someone?) compelled him to speak. Later he confessed his words came out rather jumbled and brusque.

But. The elder planted a seed that immediately took root. The young boy accepted Jesus as his Savior. His name? Charles Spurgeon—preacher and author extraordinaire, whom God used mightily. People are still impacted by his writings to this day.

(For an example of Dr. Spurgeon’s God-given genius, see the post, “Not Length But Strength,” from last week, May 9).

Observation #2:

Our responsibility is the planting of “deed seeds”; the harvest is up to God.

The same principle that works in the physical realm works in the spiritual realm: A farmer may plant, fertilize, and water, but the germination of each seed is a miracle only God can bring about. Don’t become tightly focused on results.

English: Seedling

English: Seedling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The elder who led Charles to the Lord that snowy, wintry day, had no idea the boy would grow up to have such a profound effect on the world. The gentleman may not have lived long enough to see the results of his deed that morning. But we know, and we marvel.

Observation #3:

The true harvest is not measurable in physical terms, and it’s hidden from view in the spiritual realm.

Only now and then does God give us a glimpse of what our small deeds are accomplishing. Perhaps God planned it that way so pride and self-gratification do not taint the glory of the harvest.

Imagine the joy that elder continues to experience every time a saint comes through the gates of heaven, who has been influenced by Charles Spurgeon—fourth and fifth generation Christians, whose ancestors accepted Jesus because of Dr. Spurgeon. Others have been influenced and encouraged by the preacher’s writings.

The positive influence of a man or woman of God never dies.

Ivan Grohar: The Sower. The motif from this pa...

Ivan Grohar: The Sower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Such a possibility should translate into enthusiastic motivation for planting seeds wherever we go.

 

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