What Others Say

Thank you for writing the article in Saturday's edition of New Castle News. It was very good and very interesting. You bring it all to light, making everything very simple and easy to understand. - Kathy L. - New Castle, Pennsylvania

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Recognizing The Moment

 Last week my neighbor was walking down the alley behind our house and greeted me with a wide grin. He had just bought a new bicycle for his eleven-year-old daughter. “Is it her birthday?” I asked. “No,” he replied, almost giggling. “I realized she had outgrown her bike and decided to buy her a new one. She hasn’t stopped smiling all day. I just recognized the moment.” He grinned again.

Every day we are presented with moments that make a difference with our families, our friends and with strangers. Recognizing these moments ultimately determines how we impact our world.

Jesus was the master of recognizing the moment. When He entered the city of Jericho, no one noticed a tax collector who had climbed a nearby tree to get a glimpse of him. But Jesus stopped, called him by name and spent the afternoon in Zacchaeus’ home. That moment changed Zacchaeus’ life. Later, when He was leaving the city, a blind man named Bartimaeus cried for His attention. Many rebuked the blind beggar and told him to be quiet. But Jesus stopped, called for him and restored his sight.

Jesus’ Good Samaritan parable is a lesson about recognizing the moment. Twice passersby missed the moment of opportunity. Both the priest and the Levite continued on their journey without stopping. Perhaps, like so many of us, they were too busy to take the time. For whatever reason, only the Samaritan saw the moment of opportunity and stopped to help. I sometimes wonder how many such moments I have missed.

God presents all of us with moments that can make a difference. Last March I met Giuseppe who was working in his family’s pizza restaurant. We struck up a conversation and he spoke of his spiritual hunger. We prayed together and I returned to give him a copy of my Sermon On the Mount book as an encouragement. Last week he wrote, “Now I read the bible before I go to bed. God’s been working in my life so much. I (have) been preaching the word of God to people that don't know him. … My heart hungers for the Lord.” He went on to tell me how God used him to help a friend find a job.

A couple of years ago I met a young mother who was struggling with her decision about baptism and her husband’s alcoholism. A few days ago she wrote, “God is Healer and Awesome in power! My husband will celebrate one year of sobriety next month and his health hasn't been better in years. He is completely off his meds and living a Christ-filled life. He was baptized and is growing spiritually every day.” Her entire family is now active in a local church.

To each of us God presents life-changing “moments” of opportunity. How we recognize those moments and what we do with them may be the true measure of our faith.

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