By: Dr. Glenn Gaines
Did I make a difference? That question probably crosses everyone’s mind at some time or another. I don’t remember thinking much about that as a kid, but the older I get, the more it comes to mind. The thought of living a life without impact is not one that any of us want to leave behind. Most of us want to have family, friends, clients and others to be positive about the footprint that we leave on their lives.
Over the last few years, I have been blessed to walk alongside 3 friends during their last days. As I spent some time sitting and visiting with them, I came to realize that we should strive to be living in a way that leaves a positive impact on the lives of those around us. Each of them at some point spoke of regrets they had in life. They felt as though they had marred their legacy with things they had and hadn’t done.
As veterinarians we make a difference in the lives of animals each day. We take the career that God has given us and use it to prevent diseases and heal physical ailments. We get to see results in the animals’ lives and there are glimpses of emotional impact in the lives of clients as they see their pets healed and continue to be part of the family. When we do that, we are actively making a difference in the pet and their family. We make an impact for a finite period of time.
As we do the work that God has given us, we also need to remember that He has called us to live a life for Him. Ephesians 4:1 says that we are to live a life worthy of the calling that we have received. What is that calling? Well, in Acts 1:8 we are called to be His witnesses from our house, to the office, to the community and to the ends of the earth. Scripture doesn’t say that only preachers, missionaries, etc. are to minister and be a conduit for God’s word. He says that when we accept Christ as our savior, the Holy Spirit will come on us and then we are placed into a life that reflects Him.
Everyone wants the part of Christianity where we accept Christ and are saved, but some don’t necessarily want to make the effort to have Him be the Lord of their lives. James talks about faith without deeds in James 2:17 as being dead. John 14:21 says, ”Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them”. Eph 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.
Now when I do the basics of English here, we are to do good works because God has commanded it and that will show God we love Him. When He has commanded us to do good works and we chose to not follow His commands, then our faith is not showing any fruit to God for Him to see that we love Him. These are basic truths of Christian apathy. God wants His people to be doing the work that He called them to. He wants us to be intentional witnesses. How would we measure up to the job we are called to do if we had a job performance review today?
We are intentional about our work days; we set a schedule and we follow it. We are intentional about what we tell clients about disease prevention and treatments. Why are we not intentional about sharing Christ? Is it because we have let society tell us that it isn’t politically correct or that it is a bad thing if it upsets a client and they may say something or worse- go somewhere else? Do we not know that we are preparing pieces of the conversation for when we stand before the Lord on judgement day. Do we not want to hear those words, “well done good and faithful servant”? We are called into full time ministry when we accepted the free gift of salvation. Our heavenly full time job is to find ways to be intentional about sharing the gospel-Col 3:23. You have the same responsibility as a pastor, missionary or anyone in full time ministry.
The only thing you need to do to achieve significance is to be intentional about starting to let God transform us into His likeness. To be transformed, you must be intentional to let God mold you into His disciple. Then the love of Christ will start to flow through you to others. When you are in His likeness, you will not be able to turn your witness switch off. The real question for each of us is “will you follow through with what God has called YOU TO DO?”