I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Deep Thought Thursday: Are You Counted- or Do You Count?

"Not everything that can be counted - counts and not everything that
counts can be counted
." ~Albert Einstein

I found this quote on the sidebar of Ruth's blog, and have been mulling over it the past few days. It's pretty profound. It almost makes me cry how simple, yet reassuring it is. Seems Albert Einstein was life smart too.

We don't always know how our actions or words will affect someone's life.

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Imagine this:
A young woman visits a church for the first time. She comes in alone and it's obvious she is a visitor. She has that look about her that seems timid, somehow afraid she will offend someone by just being. As she scans the people, she suddenly feels dirty. Under-dressed. Transparent. She looks down row after row and tries to size people up. Who will tell her to sit somewhere else? She knows she needs to be here this morning. Unexplainable circumstances led her here. If only she could gather the courage to ask if she could sit. Anywhere.

People are milling around, smiling and talking to one another. A few glance in her direction, then return to their own private conversations. If only someone would talk to her. Ask her to sit. To move out of the way. Anything that acknowledges her existence. But everyone is busy. Some are looking for family, saving seats. Others are checking their teeth, applying lipstick, and adjusting their clothing. Some take their places on the platform. She knows the service will start soon and feels her palms begin to dampen. Maybe she should just stand in the back until she can find an empty seat. Maybe she should just go home. Suddenly fear rises in the back of her throat, and the circumstances that led her here seem shallow. Made up. Unimportant.

As she turns to exit and retreat to the safety of her car, a woman with a kind face bumps her, knocking her Bible and keys from her hand. There are apologies for clumsiness, and smiles, and then...an odd look. She isn't recognized as a member. What will this woman with the kind face, this stranger, do?

She smiles again. And shares her name. Extends a hand, and looks interested in conversation. The young woman is encouraged. She swallows the bitterness of fear and responds. She feels awkward, yet relieved. The woman with the kind face makes a motion for the young woman to follow her. She leads her to a row in the middle of the sanctuary and offers her a seat. Then introduces her to others. More kind faces. No one here will ask her to sit somewhere else.

Hope springs. Warmth and relief replace the fear. She breathes a deep, cleansing breath of reassurance. God does want her here. The unexplainable circumstances were not shallow. Made up. Unimportant. They were real.

As the young woman adjusts her jeans, the woman with the kind face leans over and asks how she came to be there. The young woman smiles, but tells her it is a long story better for another time. The woman with the kind face smiles back and says that lunch is another time. Would she care to join some ladies this afternoon? The young woman thinks a moment, not wanting to appear too eager. Or needy. Or lonely. Though she is all those things. She forces herself to wait a moment, then accepts the invitation. The woman with the kind face seems pleased.

There are a few moments of silence between them before the music starts. The young woman no longer feels awkward. No longer thinks everyone can see right through her to the reason she's here. She can sit back in her seat and eagerly await what she was lead to hear.
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Just an illustration the Lord sent to me as I was meditating on the quote from Albert Einstein. How many people were aware of the inner battle of the young woman? Only herself and the Lord. The woman with the kind face simply obeyed His prompting. He knows which of His children will respond. Which ones will minister to those who may be 'unseemly'. And which ones will be too busy. Too self-serving. Too detached.

Not every work we do is seen by others. What we do when the still small voice of God tugs us in a certain direction could mean spiritual life or death for another person.

How many times do we ignore the prodding of the Lord because the thing He has asked is inconvenient? Or uncomfortable. Or unpopular. How many people, like the young woman, have walked away feeling rejected and ignored because we have shushed the inner prodding of the Lord?

"Not everything that can be counted - counts and not everything that counts can be counted." ~Albert Einstein

Again, we do not know how a simple word or a kind smile will count for the kingdom of God. Oftentimes those actions are a first step that lead to a relationship in which you can help another person spiritually.

Many people want to do the things that get noticed. Cheered. Applauded. Few desire to really meet people where they are, accept them how they are, and really be Jesus to them.

But God keeps track. Many things we do seem unimportant. Mundane. Cliche. But they are things that can't be counted. Not by humans anyway. Every time we obey that Still Small Voice and reach out to another person it is rewarded. Maybe the rewards cannot be counted here. Maybe our car is a little rusty. Maybe our house is a little small. Maybe our clothes are a little worn. But our spiritual bank account, our heavenly riches, can be abundant and overflowing! Are they truly?

It all comes back to what we do when the Still Small Voice tells us to talk to the young woman who looks like she doesn't belong. Or to bring a box of groceries to someone we barely know. Or to share the Gospel with people halfway around the world. Or across the street.

All the little things we do in obedience cannot be counted by human measurement, because they are unseen by human eyes. But they count, because God keeps track. And all the things we do for human glory, that can be seen by others, don't necessarily count with God.

So, the important thing is not just being seen, but being counted.

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