When I shop, I look for authentic stuff, not the rejects or fakes which may be available at lower cost. No duplicate can replace the original item’s performance so too, nothing I have which I share can be duplicated. However, I can be a blessing when I share my Christian experience to His praise and it becomes a personal experience to the hearer.
Recently, several people caught my attention for their authentic portrayal of God in their lives at various places and times.
Firstly, it was on the recent cruise on the Ms Westerdam to Alaska with Max Lucado and Don Moen. I recognized authenticity in Dave Stone a teacher of the Word who was ready to teach, from the book of James at 7.15am each morning during the cruise. Many attended the devotionals he led while they grabbed cups of coffee or had their morning breakfast bites and it was noticeable the crowd increased in size as the days progressed. Here was a dedicated teacher who showed such early morning commitment and personal sacrifice to teach us the Word in a gripping easy style, with personal applications, it made us grasp the challenges of the Word even while our brains could do with more engagement in the early hours of the morning in a relaxing cruise environment. Thank God for his commitment.
There were well known Max Lucado and Don Moen together with the other featured speakers Kim Hill, Lenny Leblanc and Anita Refroe, who shared the Word with their personal testimonies of how they overcame personal fears and challenges. We witnessed how several times during the week,
they so lovingly shared the stage in congregational singing, with a young special needs brother in Christ with “God is good all the time”.
Post cruise, my friend Penny and I enjoyed the authentic American hospitality of Uncle Milt and Aunt Audrey at their home, church and adventures outdoors for the short duration of two and a half days. Both Penny and I, strangers to them from the Orient, were invited into their home to share their family history of four generations in pictures, invited to his “inner sanctum” where Uncle Milt has his inspirations and creatively make them come alive. We enjoyed at the patio of their home in warm sun/Sonshine, an afternoon “tete-a-tete” on a wide-ranging discussion topics personal and common to all. With hands joined together we said grace before we feasted on their delicious home-cooked Sunday brunch, smoked baby back ribs dinner with refreshing salads and dessert, the picnic menu of salads and specialty of Uncle Milt of mushrooms in olive oil and vinegar, and yes his Blessings celebratory wine and the sharing of a 1977 heritage recipe of Aunt Audrey. May the Lord bless their hands which prepared American fare for us.
We witnessed perhaps unawares to them, their easy jibes and agreement and loving camaraderie surely a wonderful testimony from their to-be-envied endurance of 60+ years of marriage.
Yes, we enjoyed much laughter together not to mention the leadership and safe driving of Uncle Milt throughout the short visit.
They did the Lord proud in our eyes, as they went out of their way quietly and we noticed, to help us enjoy ourselves as much as they enjoyed themselves en route to the waterfalls, fish hatchery and Mount Hood. Their helping and strong hands proferred readily, as we walked unsteadily and unfamiliarly in the snow to take the chair-lift to the ski fields of Mount Hood and then to seek a suitable location in the forest for the picnic en route home.
Penny and I summarized at the end – we were snowed under by their gracious hospitality and care and good Christian fellowship. They showed us a standard of hospitality not easily emulated and unforgettable, which will be shared with our friends in Singapore for a long time to come.
I share the above glimpses of Christian authenticity not to brag that I was rubbing shoulders with great men and women of God but to encourage each one of us to be authentic in our living for Jesus and sharing. It is not the show, the mask we put on everyday which will grasp the attention of the non-Christians and younger Christians as they observe us in our daily lives as examples for Christian living. It is the authenticity of our ways when we forget that others are watching us that steals the show and is memorable . We are on show for the Lord – what show are we reflecting? Is it the grace and mercy of the Lord in our behaviour towards one another in the family of God and towards the non-Christians? Are we making God proud of us?
Will brothers and sisters in Christ know us by our love, by our love?
Will others come to know the Lord by our love?
Life is too short to hold back living authentically. Instead of showing off self and our warts and what we have temporarily, let us strive to become authentically what the Lord desires we be with reflection of the fruit of the Spirit and shine authentically for Jesus. Let us be mindful that others can see through the plastic fronts we may project in the flesh to win other’s approval. Let us remember that it is the authentic that appeals not the fake. Living a fake show is hard and make us have split personality and suffer frustration.
Living authentically could expose us to risk of rejection, ridicule or receptivity. It does not matter if we bring glory to God and remember that it is for Him, we are His representatives. The world rejected Him, if they reject us, He was our example. If they accept us, they must be drawn towards the Lord. That is our duty and responsiblity.
May the Lord help us to show off His love to His glory by being true to Him and ourselves.
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Galatians 5:13.
J – Jesus
O – Others
JOY Jesus first, Yourself last and Others in between.
This series Small Things, Great Impact is to identify everyday seemingly little things which have great impact on my life. Perhaps nobody but I and the Lord know about them. They have their rewards or denials. I am sharing with hope to help someone weaker in the Christian life and to improve if others have more to share from their beliefs and experience.