“And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.” (Psalm 89:5)
When the waves lap at your feet along the seashore, the moon may not be at the top of your thoughts. But if it weren’t for the gravitational pull of Earth’s biggest satellite, the ocean wouldn’t roll in and out as it does with the changing tides.
The moon has a tremendous influence over the vast seas…even though we don’t see it. And the same holds true for every person on this planet, tiny as we are in comparison to the moon. You have an impact with every person you encounter—whether it’s small or huge.
John Wesley of England badly wanted to start a church in the New World, so he took off in 1735 for the American colony of Georgia with his brother, Charles. On the voyage over, a terrible storm overtook their ship and nearly capsized it. Here’s what Wesley wrote as he observed another Christian group on board, the German Moravians:
I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behaviour….every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth….
In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards, “Was you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.”*
Wesley was struck by their complete peace, continuing to sing in the face of death. Upon Wesley’s return to England, he maintained contact with the German Moravians and visited their church—where he became truly converted by the word of God, causing his heart to be “strangely warmed.” Wesley went on to lead many souls to Christ as the founder of the Methodist Church.
Does anyone know the names of the Moravians who encountered Wesley? Probably not, but their influence on the history of Christian faith in the Western world is profound.
You might not know the name Mordecai Ham either. He was the evangelist who preached about Jesus at a revival attended by a young Billy Graham—Graham attributed his conversion to Ham’s ardent preaching. Consider how many people Graham later led to Jesus in his long career of Gospel ministry! Likewise, few people in our century are familiar with Scottish author George McDonald, but his works were instrumental in shaping the writings of C. S. Lewis, creator of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Every one of us can identify people who have had a big influence in our lives. And much of the time, those people are not even aware of it. Think of the dad, pastor, aunt, teacher, neighbor, coach, or co-worker who cheered for you along the way. Remember those who taught you about Jesus. I have a friend, in his 70s now, who still vividly remembers the lessons his Sunday School teacher taught him when he was a small child.
With whom will you have an impact today? Will it be positive or negative? Will you encourage and build up someone else? Will your actions and attitudes draw people to see the love of Christ?
Little things can have a big effect—such as helping someone push a shopping cart…teaching a child how to respect others…cheering from the sidelines for a runner in a marathon…singing hymns with the elderly in a nursing home. Your actions and your words are meaningful when they are rooted in a desire to serve Jesus and others.
My prayer is that you will remember today how you can be Jesus to the next person you meet. Let His love spill out of you, shining His light into a saddened or struggling heart. Who knows? You may give that person an irresistible “moon pull” in the direction of Jesus.
Holy One, Creator of the moon and stars, fill our hearts today with Your love so that we may overflow with Your joy in the presence of others. Make us mindful servants, remembering to reach out in courage and selflessness when others need us. Give us the right words of encouragement and hope to share. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Here’s the good news of God’s grace for you:
The foundation of the Christian life is our faith in the Good News of God’s grace. The Living and True God is a God of justice and of mercy. Every person at one time bears the guilt of sinful rebellion against God and is separated by that sin from a relationship with Him. God’s holy justice requires punishment for human sin, but out of His love and mercy He gave His Son Jesus Christ to become the Savior of all who will trust in Him.
Christ became a man to fulfill the righteous requirements of God’s Law on their behalf, and to bear the punishment of their sins through His death on Calvary’s cross so that they can be forgiven and adopted into God’s eternal family.
Contrary to much of popular belief, we cannot earn the forgiveness of our sin and the inheritance of eternal life with God by being good enough to merit these blessings. The Bible teaches that as sinners we can never be good enough on our own merit. But God offers us these benefits as a free gift, purchased in love by the holy life and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
We accept this gift by placing our faith in Christ, repenting of our sins and trusting in His death as the means of our forgiveness and acceptance by God, receiving Him as our Savior and Lord. You may express this by praying a prayer in faith like the one that follows:
Dear Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is Your only begotten Son, and that He became a human being, shed His blood and died on the cross to pay the penalty and clean away the sin that has separated me from You. I believe that He rose bodily from the dead to give me new life. Lord Jesus, I invite You and ask You to come into my heart. I confess my sins, and ask You to forgive me. I accept You as my Savior and Lord. I want to turn from my sins and pray that Your Holy Spirit will help me follow Your way. I believe that You have come and are living in me right now. Thank You, Lord. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
(By Dr. James E. Richter, Retired Pastor, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee)