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Posts Tagged ‘Significance’

His name keeps popping up in books and blog posts: Andrew Murray.

His words are thought-provoking:

  • “Never try to arouse faith from within. You cannot stir up faith from the depths of your heart. Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ.”
  • “Abiding fully means praying much.”
  • “Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds you abased and empty, His glory and power flow in.”

So who was this deeply thoughtful man, Andrew Murray(1828-1917)? Did his conversion experience turn him around 180 degrees like Paul’s? Did he face great danger like David or Daniel? Did he impact throngs of people with his preaching like Jonah or John the Baptist?

 

andrew_murray-gif

 

 

No. According to the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org), Andrew grew up in a Christian home. No spectacular transformation from unbeliever to saint.

His father was a Scottish Presbyterian minister who served in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. Andrew became a pastor himself and served several pastorates, also in South Africa.

Andrew helped found two schools, made several evangelistic tours of South Africa, and received an honorary doctorate for his contributions to world missions. Today he is best known for his devotional writings, found in the 240 publications to his credit.

Not a shabby list of accomplishments, but Andrew faced no giants or lions. There are no cliff-hanger stories to tell about him. He simply served God faithfully where he was.

No doubt there are some who would skim-read such a biography, yawn, and seek more exciting stories–Adoniram Judson’s or David Livingstone’s.

Andrew Murray may have written some thoughtful books and essays, but let’s face it. His life-story borders on ho-hum ordinary.

But wait. The Bible and annals of history are overflowing with the stories of ordinary people such as:

  • Jethro, a shepherd. Yet his wisdom greatly assisted his son-in-law–Moses (Exodus 18:1-27).
  • Mordecai, a captive. However, he was in the right place at the right time to hear of a plot against the Jews (the book of Esther).
  • Lydia, a dealer in fine purple cloth and dye. She just happened to provide housing for Paul and Silas, and became the first convert—in all of Europe (Acts 16).

No doubt these people considered themselves just ordinary folk. But God used them in astonishing ways.

The truth is, there is no such thing as an ordinary person in God’s kingdom.

So, guess who’s talking when that voice in your head whispers, “You are a nobody. You aren’t accomplishing anything worthwhile in your life.”

It’s not God!

He placed within each of us wondrous, unique gifts. Would God do that if we were worthless?

Second, he placed us within a circle of influence that includes family, neighbors, friends, church acquaintances, business contacts, and more. (And let’s not forget the ripple effect.)

Third, God provides opportunities within that circle for us to use our gifts, be a blessing to others, and  bring him praise.

So whether God ordains you or me to be a leader or follower, a platform personality or a behind-the-scenes helper, a larger-than-life Paul, or a lesser-known Andrew Murray, we each have a unique niche to fill—especially designed by God himself.

 

potter

 

For we are God’s workmanship, 

(Think of it—we are the handiwork of the Master Designer!)

Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 

(Works that will bring glory to God and supreme satisfaction to our hearts.)

which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).”

(Availing ourselves to what he’s prepared results in supremely worthwhile accomplishment.)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Thank you, Father, for gifting each of us with unique abilities to fulfill your specially designed plans. Thank you that in your kingdom there is no such thing as ho-hum ordinary, because you, the Master of the universe only create masterpieces! May our joy be centered in faithfully completing the works you have prepared for each of us.

 

Art and photo credits:  www.newparadigmthinkers.wordpress.com; http://www.dayofgrace.me.)       

 

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Does your to-do list for tomorrow include such items as:

  • Send birthday, get-well, or encouragement cards?
  • Attend a meeting or rehearsal at church?
  • Prepare for teaching a Bible study or Sunday School lesson?
  • Pick up your husband’s prescription?
  • Prepare for dinner guests?

Young woman cooking in her kitchen

Our days are often filled with small deeds. We tend to think they’re insignificant and therefore, so are we.

But that negative evaluation is not from God!

“Who despises the day of small things?” he spoke to Zechariah (4:10).

In fact, evidence indicates that God loves to take small, seemingly insignificant actions, and use them in creative, powerful ways:

  • A piece of wood thrown into bitter water turned it sweet (Exodus 15:25).
  • A cord hung from a window saved a family from destruction (Joshua 2:17-21).
  • An army of 300 defeated a powerful enemy, just by blowing trumpets and breaking clay jars to expose torchlight (Judges 7).
  • A dab of mud applied to a man’s blind eyes restored his sight (John 9).
  • Paul’s handkerchiefs and aprons became healing agents as they were laid upon the sick ((Acts 19:12).

mud

It doesn’t matter that we’re not famous, wealthy, intellectual, or strong, because it is “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,'” says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).

Might = strength, resources, and ability.  If that describes you, wonderful!  But those blessings alone will not guarantee significance.

Power = persistence, resolve, and consistency.  Again, if you are able to power through with effort and efficiency to accomplish much, terrific!  But what’s truly important is if the effort is achieving God’s purpose.

Granted, God has given us talents and gifts, opportunities and choices.  We must be prayerful and wise in the ways we use them.

John Wesley advised:

025-All-You-Can-John-Wesley

(“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever  you can.”)

Just remember:  apart from the Lord Almighty, we accomplish nothing worthwhile (John 15:5).

On the other hand, little is much–IF God is in it.

He rejoices in what is right, you see, not necessarily in what is big.

So, when you feel like a nobody who’s accomplishing nothing, be mindful of this:

Does the place you’re called to labor

Seem small and little known?

It is great if God is in it

And He’ll not forget His own.

–Kitty Suffield

(Art & photo credits:  www.whattoexpect.com; http://www.auyouth.com; http://www.kokabella.com.)

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