March 04, 2013

Devotion for the Week...

What are You Going to do with That?

Often, when I'm starting a new quilt, my husband asks "What are you going to do with that?" I've answered everything from 'give it away'

Log cabin scrap quilt - still a work in progress

to 'put it on the spare room bed'

"Nestlings" designed by Wendy Sheppard


to 'hang it on the wall.

There are dozens of patterns I'd like to make for no reason except that they're beautiful. Quilts with lots of flowers often fall into this category. As mom to three boys, I don't make many flowery quilts. As much as I love these quilts, I mostly stick to quilts with a purpose. What use is a quilt that stays hidden in a drawer or closet forever? It may be beautiful, but if it's tucked away no one gets to enjoy it.

As Christians, we have a purpose. Our purpose is to be seen and noticed by all the non-believers around us. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).

Our purpose as followers of Jesus is to shine light into the dark world around us. How do we do that? Every act of honesty counts, even something as small as pointing out when an oblivious shopper drops a five dollar bill. So does every time we refuse to gossip or every time we go out of our way to be pleasant or helpful, especially in situations where others wouldn't be.

We live in a small town of about 1400 people. We didn't grow up here, so I'm still piecing together who is related to whom, even after more than 7 years. You can be sure, though, that many people know who we are simply because we were once new in town. New people always get noticed. Many people also know we go to church, in part because my father-in-law was pastor here before we moved to town. Though my in-laws had moved away before we arrived, for our first few months in town we were often introduced as Pastor Parsons' son and daughter-in-law.

In a sense, we are like a quilt on display rather than tucked away in a drawer. How we interact with the people in town impacts how they view Christians, which in turn impacts how they view Christ. Obviously, we're not the only Christians in town; we're not even especially prominent members of the community. Having said that, if we were often rude with store cashiers or the town's workmen or the librarian, you can be sure it would be noticed.

Jesus also said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:18-20). We are not supposed to keep our faith to ourselves, hidden away in the bottom drawer of our lives. Jesus expects us to be open about our faith, to tell others about Him, to live in a way that brings honour to His name and that points others to "the way, the truth and the life"(John 14:6).

Are you fulfilling your God-given purpose, or are you more like a beautiful quilt stuffed into the closet and never seen again? Let your light shine in your home, your workplace, and every other part of your life. We may never know how our Christian living has impacted people around us, but we can be sure that God will use it.

Coffee quilt designed by Karla Alexander - it hangs on our living room wall.

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