Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
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Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!…”
A few days ago I spoke at a conference for women entitled “The Difference Maker.” To prepare for my talk, I googled the title to see what would come up. To my surprise, I found a few books with this title. One written by John C. Maxwell. The other written by a fellow Texan, Tony Bridwell. I enjoyed reading both books, but I found Tony’s book to be more insightful and much more profound.
“I was lured into believing that success was about money, power, fame, and pleasure. If those things defined success, then I should have opted for failure. My true success in life came when my focus was on doing what God wanted me to do and investing in the life of others. My only regret is that I wasted so many years chasing the wind when I should have been all in from the start.”
The Difference Maker. We all want to be a “Difference Maker.” But how? And what does it take?
“Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him?”
The Sermon on the Mount. We have all heard the saying: “Attitude is everything.” Now according to John C. Maxwell, having the right attitude requires overcoming five obstacles: discouragement, resistance to change, fear, failure and bias.
Now this may be applicable in the business world, but what about in the business world and in the business of life and death? What is the right attitude for a Christian? The Lord spelled it out clearly in His famous sermon on the mount. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom heaven…Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land…Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy, etc…”
Being humble means having the right attitude. Being merciful and compassionate means having the right attitude. The beatitudes are the difference maker.
We know the beatitudes can be summed up in three simple words: Faith, hope and love. And while we know that love is the greatest of all of them – love bears all things, endures all things. Love never fails – do we realize that love is the great difference maker?
But how do we do this? How can we put love into practice?
The Lord continued, saying, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not kill.’…but I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…” “You have heard that is was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.” “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father…”
Allow your faith to challenge you. Today, the Lord is begging us to allow Him to challenge us.
If your faith seems boring to you, then it is because you have not allowed it to roar. Let loose your faith. Allow it to challenge you. If you do, then you will see what no eye has seen; that is, what appears to be humanly impossible. And that is the point. Faith allows us to see God’s hand in our lives. By faith God makes His appearance once again.
And we know He is the Difference Maker. (0)