我們過著有永恆成果的生活?

By:Austin Pryor

在經濟不確定的時候,我們對投資或是對財務的更加專注和依賴。因此,在這個時候,我們更加需要牢記在永恆的計畫裡,錢財不是,也不應該是我們最重視的。對屬靈的事務,我們應該避免把它視為理所當然,例如每天與神、聖靈有單獨相處的時間。神喜歡透過普通人做工,但這個人需要能在祂的時間為祂所用。以下是一個神使用普通人的例子:

有一個不顯眼的人叫做愛德華.金波(Edward Kimball),當他把自己獻上給神,一連串不尋常的事情就開始發生。這個人覺得自己能活的時間應該不長,他積極的對主日學的青年人傳講福音。當中有一個鞋店學徒,金波在店後面的房間裡領他信主。這個鞋店學徒就是慕迪(D. L. Moody),後來他成為十九世紀最偉大的福音佈道家之一。

在慕迪造訪英國的時候,他的佈道對一個年輕的牧師弗萊迪.邁爾(Frederick Mayer)的生命產生很大的影響,這位牧師後來到了美國麻州慕迪學校講道,他的講道改變了另一個年輕的傳教士韋伯.查普曼(J. Wilbur Chapman),後來他也成為當代很有影響力的福音佈道家之一。

查普曼最後把他的事工交給YMCA的一個成員比利.桑戴(Billy Sunday),僅管沒有受過正式的訓練,桑戴學習查普曼如何佈道,也將福音傳到美國各大城市給成千上萬的美國人。

1924桑戴在美國北卡羅萊納州開始了一系列的聚會。這些聚會,最後帶來了1932年末底改.哈姆(Mordecai Ham)所領導的城市福音外展。在他的外展當中,一個十六歲的籃球員比利.葛理翰下定決心要跟隨耶穌基督。神後來使用葛理翰很長一段時間,帶領好幾百萬的人信主,而這些人又去帶領更多的人信主。這一切的都始於一個將死的、沒有希望的人,把自己僅有的時間奉獻給神。很奇妙的,不管人的條件如何,神能使用任何人!

幾年前,我的太太蘇珊感覺神對她說:「因為耶穌快要再來,如果有機會你願意每天傳福音嗎?」她回答說:「我願意讓您透過我來工作。」所以無論到何處去她都帶著福音小冊子,這些小冊子上面寫著人如何能被赦罪和接受永恆的生命、如何經歷聖靈掌權生活帶來的喜樂,有給小孩和成人的,也有英文、西班牙文和其他語言。她把小冊子送給她每天都會遇到的人,包括雜貨店的店員、UPS的送貨員、在電影院大廳的大人小孩、在急診室照顧她的護士和其他許多人。

因為蘇珊對神的承諾,許多人得到溫暖的微笑、鼓勵的話語和一本小冊子。因為神「…不願有一人沉淪,乃願人人都悔改」(彼得後書3章9節),所以祂透過一個願意付出自己為神所用的平凡家庭主婦做成這事。沒有人知道這個故事還會如何發展下去?你願意也開始跟神說:「我願意為祢所用嗎?」

Austin Pryor具有超過三十年理財顧問的經驗。他也是「健全心裡投資」的創辦者。他住在美國肯塔基州的路易斯威爾市。他的網址是www.soundmindinvesting.com

省思/討論題目
你對文章中提到的故事:一個默默無聞的小人物金波,竟然最後成就了國際知名的大佈道家比利‧葛理翰,有什麼想法? 如果你被告知,剩下不多的時日,你會如何使用剩下的時間? 雖然我們活在物質的世界,也有實際的顧慮-經濟、工作等,你是否同意我們要去做一些有永恆成果的事?解釋你的理由。 你最近是否有在做有永恆成果的事?如果有,是什麼?如果沒有的話,今天開始你可以做些什麼事,讓你這一生和來生不一樣?若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請看:馬太福音 5章13-16節;歌羅西書4章5-6節;雅各書2章14-18節;彼得前書3章15-16節

ARE WE LIVING ETERNAL CONSEQUENTIAL LIVES?
By Austin Pryor

In times of economic uncertainty, we can become more focused than usual on investments and financial security. For this reason it is good to remember in the eternal scheme of things, money is not – or at least should not be – our primary concern. We should avoid feeling casual about eternally important things, such as being available daily to the Spirit of God for His purposes. God loves to work through ordinary people that are available for His use. Here is an example of how God used one “ordinary” person:

A extraordinary chain of events began when an unremarkable man named Edward Kimball offered himself to God. Gripped by a sense of urgency upon learning he had little time left to live, Kimball reached out to young adult men in his Sunday school class. One of them was a shoe clerk, and Kimball led him to faith in Jesus Christ in the back room of the store. That convert was D. L. Moody, who became one of the great evangelists of the 19th century.

On a trip to the British Isles, Moody’s ministry had a strong impact on the life of a young pastor, Frederick Meyer, who traveled to the United States and preached in Moody’s school in Massachusetts. Meyer”s message changed the entire ministry of another young preacher named J. Wilbur Chapman, who went on to become one of the most effective evangelists of his time.

Chapman eventually turned his ministry over to a YMCA clerk who had been helping to set up his crusades. Despite having no formal training, Billy Sunday had learned to preach by watching Chapman. He was instrumental in introducing hundreds of thousands to Christ in the early part of the 20th century as he preached in the largest cities across the United States.

In 1924, Sunday conducted a series of meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina. Those meetings eventually led to another citywide evangelist outreach in 1932, led by Mordecai Ham. At that event a young baseball player made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. That 16-year-old was Billy Graham, whom God used for decades to lead millions into faith in Christ. And those millions have led many other millions. This all began because a dying man, seemingly with no future, made himself available to God while there was still time. It is wonderful to know God can use anybody, no matter what our qualifications might be.

Several years ago my wife, Susie, sensed God speaking to her heart: "Since Jesus is coming so soon, wouldn’t you want to give away the essence of the gospel every day if you had the chance?" She replied, "Yes, Lord, I am available for you to do that through me." She began carrying various little booklets with her everywhere. These booklets explain how a person can have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life, as well as how to experience the joy of a life controlled by God”s Spirit. She has booklets for adults and for children, in English, Spanish and other languages. She gives these to people she meets every day, ranging from workers at the grocery store and the UPS delivery man to children in the lobby of the movie theatre and the nurse who cared for her in the emergency room, and many others.

Because of Susie”s commitment, hundreds of people get a warm smile, an encouraging word, and a little booklet from an ordinary housewife who has made herself available to a great God who is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Who knows what new chain of events will someday be traced back to her simply being available? What about you?

Austin Pryor has more than 30 years of experience advising investors, and is the founder of the Sound Mind Investing newsletter and website.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What do you think about the chain of events that started with a virtually unknown man named Edward Kimball and has continued far beyond the life of an internationally known evangelist named Billy Graham? If you were to receive news that you had a very short time to live, how would you like to use the time you had left? Do you agree with the idea that even though we live in a material world with tangible concerns – including our finances and our jobs – we should be intentional about engaging in activities that have eternal consequences? Why or why not? Are you presently involved in things you believe will have eternal ramifications? If so, what are they? And if not, what things could you start doing today that would make a difference, not only during this life but also in the life to come?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Matthew 5:13-16; Colossians 4:5-6; James 2:14-18; 1 Peter 3:15-16

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