I recently gave a missionary friend a gift. It was a fairly expensive gift. I had not purchased it; I was the middle-man. It was given to me to give to her as a love offering for her tireless efforts on behalf of those less fortunate. Her response was not what I expected.
The gift was a Thomas Kinkade painting, and it appeared she had never heard of him. She was not aware of the value of the painting. I was a little taken aback. The painting even had a certificate of authenticity, which I quickly pointed out to her, hoping to evoke a thrilling response. Nothing!
Please don’t misunderstand my friend. I know I did at first. At first I thought she had appeared ungrateful. That could not be any further from the truth.
On the contrary, what I came to realize is that my friend is blessed, not impressed.
In that same conversation, when my friend started talking about the people of Haiti that she is privileged to minister to, her face lit up. Her whole body was animated and excited as she recalled people and events from her recent trip. She became even more excited as she talked about her upcoming trip there and how she hoped that even more lives would be changed by the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
The next day I was doing homework for a Bible study on the book of Daniel and the Bible study teacher, Beth Moore, was teaching on our present-day Babylon.
As I reflected on the study and our culture that places so much emphasis on how people look and social status, it occurred to me that my friend was blessed and not impressed.
She was not impressed by the Hollywood elite; her heart was drawn to the down and out.
She was not impressed by material wealth; she was led to help those who lacked the very basic needs.
She was not impressed by looks or beauty; she went to the ugliest places and found them beautiful.
My friend is truly blessed.
She has learned the secret of living in this world and being an influence for Christ rather than letting our present-day Babylon influence her.
Christ calls us to be in the world and not of the world. This is such a challenge for many of us as we are bombarded everywhere we go with the reminder that who we know, what we do, what we own, and how we look are the things that are the most regarded within our culture.
How do we influence our world and not let it influence us?
The Bible says, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). We must stay purposeful in our resolve to be different. We must be determined to live for Christ, and the only way to do that is to daily be in His word so that we can be reminded of whose we are in Christ rather than who we are in the world.
[Tweet “The trappings of this world will lose their luster as we become heavenly minded and earthly good.”]
If we can be intentional in our resolve to influence our world for Christ rather than let our culture influence us, we too will be blessed and not impressed.