Monday, October 4, 2010

"The Gift of People"

Have you ever considered the people you wouldn't know if you had not become a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ?

"That's a really sobering thought" remarked a good friend when I raised the subject. It is, isn't it? I think of my wife Frances, whom I met in church not long after I met the Lord. This wouldn't have happened had I not become a Christian, and thus I wouldn't have known her or the children (and now grandchildren) with which God has blessed us. I don't like thinking about this very long, of course, because it is "a really sobering thought."

I also think about you who read this devotional. I wouldn't have known any of you apart from God's grace in the Lord Jesus. Most of you I have not met face to face, but nevertheless your example, encouragement, challenge, and testimony of our Lord's goodness continually bless and strengthen me. I would not have wanted to have lived without the gift of your fellowship and friendship, and without having shared together "the unsearchable riches of Christ" for nearly 12 years now (Ephesians 3:8).

The list could go on and on of the people I would never have met if I had not become a believer. You have your own company of such blessings, and doubtless share with me the overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for the gift of people included in the gift of His salvation in the Lord Jesus. The body of Christ, composed of all who by faith have received His grace, expresses the goodness of the Savior to us in countless ways designed to personally reveal God's love for us. Indeed, the truth of the matter is that the goodness we have known in our brothers and sisters in Christ has been our Lord Himself, touching us through those in whom He dwells and walks (II Corinthians 6:16).

Occasionally I ponder what life would have been like if I had not received God's grace in 1975. In simple terms, it wouldn't have been life at all. "To live is Christ" declared the Apostle Paul, and the longer we walk with our Lord, the truer we know this to be (Philippians 1:21). We merely exist until the Savior becomes our Savior, and until we become a part of "the whole family in heaven and earth" (Ephesians 3:15). Our fellow believers reveal and confirm this wonderful truth in a multitude of moments and ways throughout our Christian life. Again, ponder those moments and ways - briefly, I would suggest - in the realization that none would have happened if the Lord Jesus had not made us His own. Much gratitude and thanksgiving will ensue as our hearts are overwhelmed by the gift of people included in the gift of salvation in Christ.

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore."
(Psalm 133:1-3)

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