永生的結局

By Austin Pryor

隨著經濟每況愈下,不意外的,我們就越專注在投資和經濟安全感上。我們的心思容易被現今的事物所佔據,而忽略了對永生的重視,然而跟隨耶穌的人(在今天職場的我們)被呼召要代表祂。這些年來,我們非常驚訝地發現神樂意在普通人身上作工,只要我們願意的話。

愛德華‧金寶(Edward Kimball)是一個普通人,他願意為神所用,而一連串令人驚歎的事情就發生了。因為知道自己來日不多,金寶向他教會主日學的年輕人傳福音,其中一位年輕鞋匠就是後來十九世紀的大佈道家D.L.慕迪。

在英倫群島的佈道中,慕迪影響了費德瑞克‧邁爾(Frederick Meyer),之後邁爾前往美國,在慕迪麻州的學校講道。邁爾的訊息又影響了另一個年輕的佈道家韋伯‧查普曼(J. Wilbur Chapman),之後他也成為當代非常有名的傳教士。

查普曼(J. Wilbur Chapman)有一天把他的講道傳給YMCA的一個同工比利‧桑代(Billy Sunday)。雖然桑代沒有受過正式的訓練,僅僅是看查普曼講道,但是之後在二十世紀初,他卻帶領美國千百萬人相信耶穌。

1924年桑代在美國北卡羅來納州夏洛特舉辦了一系列的會議,帶來莫底改‧漢(Mordecai Ham)在1932的福音佈道。在漢(Mordecai Ham)的佈道中,有一個籃球員叫做 比利‧葛理翰(Billy Graham)決志要信耶穌。之後好幾十年,神使用葛理翰博士帶領好幾百萬人生命改變相信耶穌。這一切都從一個生命即將走到盡頭的人,願意為主所用開始。

我的太太蘇西每天都將自己獻給神。幾年前,她感覺到神跟她說:「耶穌快回來了,你願意每天去傳福音嗎? 」她回答說:「我願意為你所用。」

那時起,她就隨身帶著福音小冊子。這些小冊子上寫著人的罪惡如何能被赦免、如何得到永生以及經歷被耶穌帶領的喜樂,有英文版西班牙文版和其他的語言。她把這些小冊子給每天她會遇到的人:雜貨店員、餐廳服務人員、售貨員、在電影院大廳等候的年輕人、修剪我們庭院樹木的人、乾洗店店員、修理我們家壞掉水龍頭的人、急診室的護士以及許多其他人。

他們都從一個平凡的家庭主婦得到一個溫暖的微笑、一句鼓勵的話以及一本小冊子,「 因為神不願一人沉淪,乃願意萬人得救 。」(彼得後書3章9節)。這一切都從一句簡單的話開始:「主啊!我願意為你所用。」

聖經說:「神的眼目遍查全地,要顯大能幫助向祂心存誠實的人。」(歷代志下16章9節)。當神的眼目轉向你我,你願意為祂所用嗎?

回應與問題討論
你認為生命不只是現在還有永生的結局嗎? 你是否想過如果把人生的重點放在永生上,你的人生是否會有所不同?特別是對那些你每天在工作、商店和住家附近會遇到的人? 很多人包括那些對耶穌基督有真實信靠的人,似乎對永生的結局以及他們每天會遇到的人不大關心。你是不是相信自己並非那些「被神所用特殊的人」?為什麼你會這麼想? 本文作者提到他的太太每天發福音小冊子給她所遇見的人。如果你沒有嘗試過,也許因為永生的價值,你願意開始嘗試這樣做?註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:約翰福音 3章16節; 羅馬書1章16-17節、3章23節、 5章8節、6章23節、10章14-15節;哥林多前書 3章9節;以弗所書 2章8-9節

ARE OUR LIVES OF ETERNAL CONSEQUENCE?
By Austin Pryor

With the economic outlook always uncertain, it is not surprising how much we focus on investments and financial security. We can easily become preoccupied with this temporal life and feel complacent about things of eternal importance, but followers of Jesus Christ – even those of us engaged in the 21st century workplace – are called primarily to represent Him. Through the years it has been amazing to observe how much God delights in working through ordinary people, if they are willing to be available to Him.

An amazing chain of events began when Edward Kimball, one such ordinary individual, made himself available to God. Gripped by a sense of urgency upon learning he had little time left to live, Kimball reached out to young men in his church”s Sunday school class. One of them was a young shoe clerk, D. L. Moody, who later became one of the great evangelists of the 19th century.

On a trip to the British Isles, Moody’s ministry had an impact on the life of Frederick Meyer, who later traveled to America and preached in Moody’s school in Massachusetts. His message changed the entire ministry of another young preacher, J. Wilbur Chapman, who became a noted evangelist of his time.

Chapman one day turned his ministry over to a YMCA clerk who had coordinated his evangelistic meetings. Billy Sunday had no formal training but learned to preach by watching Chapman. He in turn guided hundreds of thousands across the United States to faith in Christ in the early 20th century.

In 1924, Sunday conducted a series of meetings in Charlotte, North Carolina. Those led to another evangelistic outreach in 1932, led by Mordecai Ham. There a 16-year-old baseball player named Billy Graham decided to follow Christ. In the decades since, God has used Dr. Graham to lead millions into life-transforming faith in Christ. Think about it: This all began when one man, whose future seemed bleak, made himself available to God to serve others while there was still time.

My wife, Susie, makes herself available to God each day. Years ago, she sensed the Lord speak 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."

Since then she has carried various little booklets with her wherever she goes. These booklets explain how people can have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life, and experience the joy of being guided by Jesus. These are booklets for adults and for children, in English, Spanish and other languages. She gives them to the people she meets every day: grocery store workers, restaurant servers and shop clerks, children in movie theater lobbies, the man who cut down our tree, women behind the counter at the dry cleaners, her; a plumber who fixed a broken faucet, an emergency room nurse, and many others.

They all receive a warm smile, an encouraging word, and a little booklet from an ordinary homemaker serving 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 she is starting by simply being available?

The Bible says "the eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward Him, so that He can show His great power in helping them" (2 Chronicles 16:9). When God’s eye falls upon you – and me – will He find us available?

© 2015. Austin Pryor has three decades of experience advising investors, and is the founder of the Sound Mind Investing newsletter and website.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you ever consider that your life has importance not only for the present, but also has eternal consequences? Explain your answer. How do you think your life might be different if you were to give more emphasis on the eternal impact of your life – especially the influence you can have in the lives of people you encounter every day, whether at work, while in a retail store, or in your own neighborhood? Why do you think many people, even those that have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ, seem to have so little concern about the eternal consequences they could have through their everyday encounters? Have you ever had a belief that only “special” people can truly have an impact in the lives of other people for eternity – and that you are not one of those “special” people? If so, why do think you have thought this way? Mr. Pryor gives the example of his wife offering little booklets to people she meets over the course of each day. If you are not already doing something, what might you be able to start doing on a consistent, daily basis that could have a positive benefit in the lives of others, not only for today but also for eternity?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: John 3:16; Romans 1:16-17, 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:14-15; 1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:8-9

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