You can make a difference!
[notice]Jeffreys Bay publisher Robbie Hift says you have the power to nourish and uplift lost, and directionless people with God;s live-giving Word. Could this be a New Year’s resolution for you? If you do take up the challenge we’d love to hear about it. You can share your story by commenting below this article. [/notice]
As you drive along the coastal road towards Alexandria in the Eastern Cape, through the rolling green farmlands, you are suddenly confronted by a series of large signboards strategically placed two hundred yards apart just behind the wire fence of a local businessman’s property. Each signboard is maybe two meters wide by three meters high and on each board is boldly written in large letters, one of the Ten Commandments. Gary Pheasant writes that this is a personal family initiative which started in 2008. They are funding the entire campaign themselves.
It’s really quite shocking because there it stands, right in your face for all the world to see: “Thou shalt not kill.” You drive along the road and two hundred meters later, the next board says, “Thou shalt not steal.” You are still absorbing this two hundred meters later when you read, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” And so there are 10 signboards which say nothing more and nothing less than what God says in His holy word. Later, when you travel back down the same road, on the other side of each signboard, is written each of the Ten Commandments in Afrikaans.
When I first saw this I thought, “Wow! This man really has vision! What he has done is to make a small piece of his property available for God’s purposes in a bold way, to encourage travellers and to remind them of exactly what God says in His Word.” Wouldn’t it be fantastic if other believers did the same thing? To share God’s life giving words in public places!
I believe that there are many people who truly love the Lord. Men and women who earnestly desire to do something positive to promote His kingdom in the everyday world, but they scratch their heads and they don’t quite know how they can contribute to the noble cause of Jesus Christ.
Well, let me excite your imagination with some fresh ideas.
A few years ago I became the proud owner of a 1976 Ford F100 truck. A collector’s piece, nearly 40 years old. Strong as an ox, it was a huge white, monster truck with a massive loadbody and a wide bench seat up front that seated three people comfortably. That Ford F100 boasted a great V6 motor that roared with life. During the 1960’s and 70’s the South African Police and the Railways and the Post Office and the government officials all used to drive the Ford F100’s and the Ford 250’s with their proud V8 motors throughout our land.
So I decided to promote God’s Holy Word on the large white back of my truck and my reason for so doing was this: in Psalm 138 it says: “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” In other words, God esteems His Word very highly because He knows that it brings life and encouragement to all who read His words. So I prayed long and hard about what exactly to write on the back of the truck. Finally I went to a signwriting company and paid them to create a large blue poster, a meter high and 1.5 meters wide to stick onto the back of the white Ford F100. On this stark blue background stood the bold, white letters that read: “With God, all things are possible. Mark 10:37.”
After a while, everyone in my hometown knew that F100 with great affection and many folks said to me, “I was having a bad day and then I stopped behind your truck at the stop street and those words gave me fresh hope. Thanks so much for the encouragement.” When the petrol price became astronomical, I was forced to sell the F100. Someone forced banknotes into my reluctant hands for the vehicle and they totalled exactly twice the amount of rands that I had paid five years before! I love the way God rewards us when we work in His service when we expect nothing in return!
There is something that you can do!
Now you may say, “That sounds great, but I don’t own a big farm to place signboards and I don’t own a big truck.” That’s true, but if you think about it there IS SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN DO! Before I explain HOW you can get involved, let me just interrupt myself to give this startling realisation some more focus:
You see, there are many people who no longer go to church so they don’t get to hear God’s encouraging words and they don’t read any Bible. Yes, they believe in God, yes they believe in Jesus Christ, but for reasons of their own, they no longer go to church. Whatever the reason, they no longer go to church or more seriously still: they have never heard the message of Jesus Christ that says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” And yet most people are starved for some spiritual direction. Most people long to know about the ways of God. We hunger and thirst for the knowledge of something bigger than ourselves. Something pure, something honest, true, unchanging, ever loving, constant, just and merciful.
The problem is that in the everyday world we are constantly pulled away by the highly stressful demands of life. We all suffer under the lies, the deception, the cheapness and the violence of the real world. The newspapers, TV, the DVDs, the magazines, the night clubs and discos and the bars all proclaim a rather ugly story. And we get bone weary of it. So many times people become filled with despair. They lose hope. They lose sight of an awesome, loving God with eternal, unchanging values which are all designed expressly for our good. That’s when they take the slow drive to Van Stadens Bridge, climb the railing and take the long jump.
God’s word says: “My people will perish for a lack of vision.”
So here are a few ways how you can help to keep God’s vision fresh and alive in the world in which we live: Do you perhaps own a little shop? Well, you could ask God to give you a scripture and then print an A4 poster and place it strategically on your shop wall or on your counter. “Do not fear or be dismayed, for I the Lord am with you wherever you go.”
A word of caution: beware of those sugary, flowery clever little sayings so popular these days. We all get those well-meaning mass emails with a trite little story that doesn’t quite ring true! They are so annoying because they are obviously man made and contrived. No, instead we need the life giving verses taken directly from the Holy Bible. What really helps you is when you read: “Come unto Me all who labour and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest, says Jesus.”
Remember when you were lying in your bed at 3.30 am. worried sick about your finances or your health or your family? What helped you was when you switched on the light and read those remarkable words that say: “Be anxious for nothing. But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.”
That’s hugely encouraging! Those verses cry out to go up on a wall in a giant shopping mall so that all the hundreds of passers-by will read it and take new courage in a difficult life. Just maybe you are the one who has the power and the influence to actually make it happen!
Are you that landlord or managing director or supervisor or owner who has or who can get the authority to make it happen? Do you hear a little insistent voice inside you urging you, “Make that phone call! Work for Me! Be bold! Make My word famous in public places!”
What about a bumper sticker?
The small ways are just as effective. What about a bumper sticker? Can you not spare just a lit bit of your living space to encourage others when they drive depressed behind your car and read: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Or “The Power of life and death lies in the tongue and you shall eat the fruit thereof.” Or “With God, all things are possible.”
Are you perhaps a student who loves the Lord? You could place a sticker on your schoolbag that says, “Your word is a light and a lamp to my feet.”
Maybe you are a householder and there is a big, blank garage wall facing the road and you own the wall! Instead of a blank wall, imagine the huge letters thereupon that proclaim: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace through your believing so that you may abound in hope.” Well, why not! It won’t cost you much and yet you will be uplifting everyone who comes past your garage in such a mighty way!
I remember as a guest in someone’s house in Malabar asking to use their toilet. As I sat on the throne, there were the immortal words facing me on the back of the toilet door that said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, Whom shall I fear?”
All we really need to do is to make ourselves available to God. Be available so He can use your bumper, your wall, your shop counter, your guesthouse, your school bag, your company magazine, whatever it is you have control over.
If you catch this vision, maybe you would be so kind as to go to the print shop and order 20 stickers. If you give them out to 20 willing people to place them in 20 prominent places, then hundreds of passers-by will become encouraged in this tough life by God’s Holy Word.
When your “If” changes into your “When….when I do it,” then revival can start in the world around us.
Take heart also from the fact that The Lord will never expect you to burn out in His service. He will never give you a task beyond what you are capable of achieving. Remember Jesus’ words, “My load is light and My yoke is easy to bear.”
Revival often starts with us. For we are His hands