Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chance Encounters

Our church just wrapped up an amazing series which they called "Make Room".  It was based on the premise that "You can't make God move in your life, but you can make room for Him to move."  The last installment in the series was about "Making Room for Mission."

Our pastor opened by speaking about "chance encounters."  Those moments in life where you encounter someone that ultimately changes your world in some way.  Has that ever happened to you?  I think this has probably happened in my life several times.  I've not made it a secret that my husband and I met online.  We'd both just gotten computers.  The internet was a fairly new thing to us both.  Back in the days of dial up and before online dating sites, there were these things called "chat rooms" where you could just show up and start conversations with random strangers.  This was before you ever heard of the term "online predators".  This was new.  Certainly one needed to be cautious and guard themselves against people who may not be who they appeared online.  But it was through one of these chat rooms that Ron and I met in the mid '90s.  A chance encounter that changed my life forever.

There's also the situation where I knew a family through my older daughter's daycare when we first moved here.  At some point along the way, the wife could see that I was struggling in ways where she just sensed that I needed a little help from above.  She introduced me to the church I have been attending for the last few years or so.  If it weren't for this woman, I honestly don't know that I would be on a journey with Christ by my side.  Or, at least, not one with me acknowledging that He is by my side.  I wouldn't have the relationship with God that I have today.  I wouldn't have been able to face so many extremely challenging life situations in the way in which I have because I would not have known Christ.  I hate to think of what life would be like today, knowing all that I have been through in the time that has passed, if I had not encountered this person.  Life changing.

It is amazing to me to stop and reflect on how God orchestrates things in our lives, putting certain people in our lives for a purpose, placing us in certain situations and places so that we can have those encounters.  

The message at church was about how we can make room for "mission" in our lives.  Ultimately it was about how we live our lives expecting that these encounters will happen and that we don't just let them pass us by.  Nothing will change in our lives if we don't do something.  The point was that we "Respond in faith."
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says."  {James 1:22, NIV}
We are going to have encounters in our lives where we are the beneficiaries of the encounter - our own lives will be affected.  But we are also going to be the ones who affect someone else's life because of how we respond to God's call.  I think we just go about living our lives sometimes like it's all about us. But it's not.  It is how we live our lives and be a model of Christ for those we encounter each and every day.  Just think of the number of people you encounter each day, week, and throughout the month.  We have an incredible number of opportunities where, just by our example, we may demonstrate Christ's love in some way and affect someone else's life in amazing ways.

Whether our mission field is abroad in some third world country or right in our back yard, we have opportunities each and every day to change the world.  It starts with each of us.  It starts with our attitudes.  It starts with how we live our lives.

As we are each made in the image of God, how good a job are we doing at reflecting that image to the world around us?

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