What Does He See in Me?

tax collectorSometime back, I was having lunch at Asbury University, where I served on the faculty for 33 years. As friends and I were enjoying good food and fellowship, a group of students passed close by. I overheard one student emphatically ask of another, “What does she see in him?”

Hearing that question sent my mind hurrying back to the distant past when Jesus walked the earth. Gospel writers Mark and Luke both record the Lord’s encounter with a man named Levi. “After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office” (Luke 5:27, Mark 2: 14, NKJV). As the Master engaged Levi, the people around, like the students mentioned above, were asking, “What does He see in him”?

Levi was a tax collector. As such, he was considered by the Jews to be a traitor to their own people. He had joined the hated Roman overlords to assist them in collecting taxes. Tax collectors were considered to be religiously unclean and sinners of the most despised class. But Jesus saw something different in Levi. He saw Matthew, the man who would trade his extortioner’s pen for a brush that would paint many wonderful word pictures and unforgettable images of the Savior. He saw the man who would write the First Gospel in the New Testament. Jesus saw a man that tradition reports became one of the first Christian missionaries.

Reading accounts like that of Matthew or perhaps Gideon (Judges 6:11) sends goose bumps up my spine. These accounts underscore 1 Samuel 16:7 (MSG), “Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”

Others surely must have wondered, as I have myself, “What does God see in me?” I cannot tell you what the Lord saw in me.  I do not know why He called me to follow Him. But this I know for sure, He called me to repentance and saved me. He allowed me to become a co-laborer with Him and help build His kingdom. For that I will always praise His name.

What does the Lord see in you? It is likely far different than what you see in yourself. Go to Him. Ask Him show you what He sees in you. Maybe He sees in you a Matthew, a Gideon, a missionary or a prayer warrior. The Lord has a place for you in His kingdom. He sees you differently than others do.

What Does God See In You?

~ Brother Roy

An Empty Wagon

empty wagonRecently at the ‘morning gathering’ of coffee drinkers at Fitch’s store, Dwight, a local farmer and friend, offered an interesting observation. Commenting on an empty flower display in front of the store, he said, “It’s hard to sell from an empty wagon.”  In the explanation that followed, he told about a picture that hung in the hallway of an older building where he had done business. The picture was of a forlorn and dejected fellow looking into the empty bed of a peddler’s wagon. Beneath the picture was the caption, “It’s hard to sell from an empty wagon.”  The point being that you can’t sell what you don’t have.

The principle espoused in the caption has broad application across many areas of life. It certainly applies to the retail business, but it also pertains to Christianity. In the Book of Acts (1:8), Jesus charged His followers with the responsibility of being His witnesses. He promised that they would have the ‘power’ to be His witnesses through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. A short time later His promise of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled (Acts 2:4). From that day to this, Spirit-filled believers have been able to effectively share the gospel message.

In the spiritual world, the empty wagon principle is a truism. You cannot share what you do not have. If ministers, who are not Spirit-filled, attempt to influence people to follow Christ and join the church, they will be ineffective at best and may even be detrimental. When church members endeavor to influence family and friends to receive Christ as Savior and are not themselves ‘born again’ believers, they may do more damage than good. You just can’t sell from an empty wagon.

Hear the wisdom of Solomon on the matter, “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain” (Proverbs 25:14). The Apostle Peter says of such people, “These are wells without water…” (2 Peter 2:17).

Prayer: Lord, let us share our faith in Christ from a full heart. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”  (Luke 6:45, NIV).

~ Brother Roy

The Compass

compassMy car has a built-in compass in the instrument panel. Like any functioning compass it will always indicate true north. In early days, the compass was an absolutely indispensable navigational aid for ships and explorers traveling in uncharted areas. If true north was established, the right direction to the desired destination could be determined. Without a compass, travel could easily deteriorate into aimless wandering.

My sense of direction leaves something to be desired. I depend on navigational aids to get me where I want to go. I often think of how lost I would be without directional assistance. Like trying to navigate unfamiliar physical territory without a compass, trying to plot a religious course to heaven and eternal life without a spiritual compass may end in disaster.  How fortunate we are to have a spiritual compass, the Bible. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The scriptures provide us a navigational aid to heaven and home. I believe that scriptures of the Old and New Testaments constitute the divinely inspired Word of God, that they are inerrant in their original writings, without error in all they affirm, the final authority for truth and life. They are the only infallible rule for both faith and practice. The compass always indicates true north and the Bible always points to absolute truth. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place…”  (2 Peter 1:19).

~ Brother Roy

Afflicted with Schadenfreude

schadenfreudeSometimes a person can find spiritual truth in unexpected places. Recently, I was relaxing and reading the sports page in the local newspaper. The article I was reading was about intense rivalries in college sports. The word ‘schadenfreude’ caught my attention. It was a new word for me.  Webster’s Universal Dictionary yielded this definition: “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.” That certainly applies to most sports rivalries. A report that a rival is under NCAA investigation is often met with a cheer.

The sad truth is that schadenfreude relates to many other areas of human interaction. People may be happy when a superior fails or a perceived competitor is unsuccessful. Maybe it’s when the “perfect family” down the street runs into trouble. Maybe it’s when a growing church in the area, one that has attracted members from your congregation, experiences a moral failure and bad publicity. A smile may cross our face at the adversity of those we don’t like.

Schadenfreude is a clear reflection of the impact of the ‘fall’ and the influence of sin in the human heart. How unlike the character of God schadenfreude is! When we were in trouble, He came to us. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, KJV). Hear God’s word speak about His attitude toward even those who oppose Him:

  • “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)  I like The Message paraphrase of this verse:  “Do you think I take any pleasure in the death of wicked men and women? Isn’t it my pleasure that they turn around, no longer living wrong but living right—really living?”
  • “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)

The Apostle Paul writes to the Church at Corinth about dealing with opposition and rivals. He reminds them of how Christian love conducts itself. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). There is no room for schadenfreude in the Christian life.

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O my Savior divine, All my being refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
(Albert Orsborn)

~ Brother Roy

You Only Live Once

yoloI read a humorous statement recently that after further reflection turned alarmingly serious for me. “You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.” We need to be aware, as we make our probationary journey through our allotted days, that this is a one-time trip. At the end of life, if we haven’t secured our salvation, we will not get a second chance to relive our life.

C.T. Studd, an iconic missionary of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, wrote the powerful poem, Only One Life To Live. His poem speaks what’s on my heart more clearly than I possibly can. Here I share but three of the verses:

Only one life, yes only one, soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, and stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, gently pleads for a better choice.
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, and to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

The moving account of Esau is found in the first book of the Bible. His story in Genesis chapters 27 and 36 serves as a compelling example of the truth that is being shared in this devotional. Centuries after Esau died, the New Testament writer of Hebrews provided an authoritative epitaph for Esau’s life:  For you know that afterward, when he (Esau) wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears(Hebrews 12: 17, NKJV). The wording of the NIV translation adds an interesting nuance to the verse: he could not change what he had done.” Neither can we!  Are you prepared to stand before God as you are? There will be no second chances.

How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?  (Hebrews 2:3, NIV)

~ Brother Roy