Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Devotional - It's Bigger Than You Think

Good morning my friends. Let us meet this day with much enthusiasm and joy as we realize the love of Jesus. We are moving on to 2 Corinthians 9.

Have you ever stopped to reflect on how large a sphere of influence you have? These are the people that you affect by your words and your actions. At first you may think you do not have much influence but that would be a mistake on your part. Every day we are affecting the people we meet or even the people who simply see us. We affect them by our action mostly but also sometimes by what we say or how we say it.

Understanding that we have this influence on people we meet or who see us, I want you to imagine that circle expanding. You need to include the people who hear about you. These are the people who your family or friends talk to. You may not realize it but you are the subject of conversation. Whether it is good or bad is often according to what you have done or said. You may not think this important or even want to consider these people but they are still influenced by what you do or say.

This is what we can see when Paul writes to the Corinthians and points out to them:

For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. v. 2

Paul was referring to the collection of money he was taking for the church of Jerusalem. Here his boasting of the Corinthians actions had an affect on the Macedonians. I doubt that these people even knew each other but Paul was impressed with the quick promises of the Corinthians and boasted of them which spurred on others to do the same. It is great when our actions, promises and words have a positive affect and causes people to take positive action, but the opposite can also be true:

For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. v. 4

Broken promises affect more than just the people directly involved, it also affects those that have heard about the promise. That is not always a thing we take into consideration. It can be a devastating reality if your desire is to affect change for Jesus by your action and words. How you keep your promises affects more than just your family and friends, it also affects those to whom they have bragged about you.

It is a good reminder that we are suppose to be promise keepers. Jesus said:

Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37)

James states it with a little more emphasis:

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned. (James 5:12)

So understand that your sphere of influence is much greater than you realize. If affecting change is your desire then start by checking your attitude toward the promises you make. Then check your words and your actions, and give something for friends and family to boast about, remembering:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

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