Lives of Purpose
By Jody Griffin
Avery and Mitchell Counties
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
Ever wonder what might have happened if certain people who played significant roles in the Biblical narratives had responded to their circumstances differently? How might that have changed the trajectory of history and what effects might have been caused for others? What if Moses had chosen to run from the bush that was aflame and never heard the Call of God? What if Joseph had sent Mary away “privily”? What if Saul had chosen to reject the Voice that directed him when he was blinded on that Damascus road and thus never received his ‘new’ name?
As a Chaplain, I have the privilege of speaking with men often who speak of how they wish that they had made other choices in their lives and how they think these other choices will have created different outcomes.
Passing me in the breezeway he asked if he could speak to me. From an appropriate distance, he said, “Pray for me Chap! I’m leaving here next week and I don’t know what God wants me to do with my life.” I responded by sharing this Scripture with him.
Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. He admitted that he had not really thought of his release from that perspective and thanked me for the words of encouragement. Then the next week as he was leaving I happened to be nearby as he was escorted out the door.
“I have been thinking about what you said, Chap! I’m gonna do just like it says. Do what’s right, forgive the people that have hurt me, and walk with the Lord from here on out.” I smiled and congratulated him on his decision. And I pondered how his choice might impact his future, his family, and on and on.
Of course, we all play a role in the course of history. Many see themselves as small and insignificant. But lives that choose to walk in the ways of God… lives that are moved to follow the Truth found in God’s Word are lives that will ultimately be lives of purpose!
Meditate on the different narratives of the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and you will find that each one describes the decisions of people who participated in the miraculous Incarnation and ministry of Jesus in the world. His decision to follow through with God’s redemptive plan means that every single person has the opportunity to experience freedom from the ‘prisons’ created by our choices!
Yes, we can be a part of the Great Work of God bringing Light and Love and Peace, and even Joy to a world that seems dark and dangerous.
I can’t help but smile as I ponder how we together will impact the future of our families and the world.
2020 has been hard. 2021 can and will be better if each one will choose to hear God’s call to faith that moves us to live justly, to be models of mercy, and humbly follow the One Who leads us.
These decisions led Joseph. Joseph led the animal that carried Mary. Together Joseph and Mary led Jesus to understand and live the very words that would one day lead the world to know Jesus as the “Word” become flesh to dwell among us.
Where might the “Word” take us? Merry Christmas!
Jody Griffin is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and Community Funded Chaplin at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. If you would like more information contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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