I am in the centre of a circle. The dots near me are the people I see often: family, church members, and close friends. As we move out to the edges these are the people we don't see very often: Aquaintances and people who cross our path and who we speak to once and maybe never see again. On the outside of the circle are people we pass in the street, observe from afar and the people we are yet to meet.
This is our Circle of Influence.
Think back to 10 years ago. Is the circle of influence the same as it is now or different? Do you still speak to these people? Will you ever see them again?
My circle of influence is almost completely changed even in the last 3 years. People come and go in our lives and we move countries or towns and make new friends and are in different situations. Young adults leave school and go to University.
The point I am trying to make is, what influence have you made on these people. Will someone who has never heard of Jesus come into your circle today and go out tomorrow never having heard the good news or even having at least one seed sown into their lives? What if this person'ts only encounter with a Christian circle of influence was yours and you said and did nothing?
Was the prompting of the Holy Spirit there or did you drown Him out with your rationalisations?
Sometimes it is just so much easier to get up every day and neglect the time we have with God because if we pray He may answer. If we open our ears we will be able to hear His still small voice telling us to go and talk to or give to someone.
Jesus talks about the 3 men and the talents they were given. Are we going to take what God is asking us to do and use it and be profitable or are we going to hide it and not trust that God will be with is in this and has given us everything we need to do these thinks.
I went to a women's conference earlier this month called EquipHer and an awesome woman of God, Esther Elliot, gave an illustration of someone crossing the road and tripping and falling and dropping what they were holding. Some of us will see what is happening and choose to turn and walk away or point and laugh.
But if that was someone close to you like your mother or sister there wouldn't be even a thought 'should I help?' There would not be any thinking about whether it is God telling me to go help them or feeling uncomfortable. In this way we should be with everyone quick to act and slow to rationalise and compromise and think our way out.
When we walk in truth and faith and we follow Jesus our minds are renewed and we think differently. We think in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It becomes easier to give and forgive. God's voice and his will becomes clear and we live our lives differently.
I was thinking this morning how I have survived most of winter. In a week it will be it will be another season. Spring! Winter I find to be a really trying time. I do feel sometimes that I would really much rather be a bear and hibernate through Winter. Everything smells either damp or stale, condensation drips from the windows every morning and keeping warm is expensive.
There is always somebody in my house with a cold or runny nose.
All in all Winter is is just not my favourite time of the year and I do feel a little blue and depressed as the weeks go by. Everyday is a decision to get up and go for my walk, despite the rain and cold. I would much rather stay in bed where it is warm, alternating between sleeping and reading.
But I know if I all this season's dreariness and trials to get me down my happiness and the atmosphere in my home will suffer.
And such it is with the seasons in our Christian walk. Despite what is happening or not happening we have decisions to make. Changes to make so we can adapt and become stronger so that when the next season God is leading us into comes we will be fully prepared and ready to be on fire for the desires God has spoken into our lives.
We need to hold onto the hope that the next season is just around the corner and that it is even better than the one we are in.
Sometimes our Winter is long and it seems like we are going to be in the waiting room forever. I feel I am coming out of a Winter in my own life. I turn 30 this year and I have been keeping busy and learning things over the last 22 years since I became a Christian and I feel it has been a time of equipping and preparation for the next season. I have been waiting my turn to bud and bloom. Seeds have been sown and fertilised, watered with the storms and the warmed by the beating down of the heat of the sun on the soil.
It has been important to have these seeds planted correctly and on good soil, watered and given light. God cannot do work through me if these seeds are scattered on hard and unyielding ground.
I am really looking forward to the next season and what God has in store for my life. It is scary though because I know it is going to take me saying yes to things that I will feel unequipped for and I will need to step out of my comfort zone. There are going to be people who come into my circle and I am going to have to decided to rise up and listen and obey God's voice when He calls me to encourage, give, impart and bless others.
I know I have a lot to learn still and I know that for the rest of my life on this earth there will always be something I will need to repent of, change and learn from. But how great is our God that will never leave us or forsake is and who loves us and wants the very best for us!
So I challenge you. Open your ears, heart and minds to the Lord and what He is asking you to do for your neighbour or the person who crosses your path today. You may find that is just as much for your own good as it is for the good of the other person.
Blessings for this week