I believe that God created every person for the purpose of serving Him and giving Him glory. Unfortunately not everyone will. When Jesus went to the cross, He went and died for all. Not just a select few. I also believe that out of all the people on the earth, God has planned for particular people to cross the paths of others. Non- believers will cross paths with believers so that they might hear the good news of the gospel. And believers will cross paths with other believers to strengthen each other -Proverbs 27:17. We can think "well that's unavoidable isn't it?" but think about it, why do we live where we live? Why do we work where we do? And so on. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't believe in accidents or that we just float through life without purpose.
One example for instance would be my dad working together with a man from Hatteras, NC for a tugboat company in Norfolk, VA many years ago (probably early 80's). I would have been little at the time (maybe in the 2nd or 3rd grade). Who would have thought that so many years later, after everywhere I've worked and places I've been and seen that I would be working with that man's grandson in NC and together on the same boat?
I will come back to this in a minute.
When we give our lives to God, I believe that things get a whole lot harder after that. I don't want to get to far off track here, but bear with me. I'm not a believer in what's called the "prosperity movement" that is so very popular today. This movement teaches that if you love the Lord enough that you'll have your every dream of whatever you yourself desire come true. This might include becoming wealthy, or never being sick again just to name a couple. But did Jesus teach this? No, He didn't. Jesus said that the road with Him would be difficult -Matthew 7:13-14.
I believe that part of the difficult road is being despised by the world. Here are some quotes from Jesus Himself...
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Now back to my original point.
As we live in a world that hates God and those who have given their lives to Him, God pre-planned for us to come across other believers on the difficult road. One such person that comes to mind on my road is my mate at work. The maritime industry is a rough/tough environment. I have worked on fishing boats, dinner cruise boats, passenger ferries, research boats, and tugboats nearly my entire life. I believe that there are many more non believers than there are followers of Jesus Christ in this line of work. So one who loves Christ can feel pretty alone in this field.
My mate on the boat (who for privacy reasons) I will just call Mike has been a bright spot where I work now for quite a few years. He is a man of high moral character and truly loves the Lord. He speaks often of his love for his wife and children. I see him involved with his church. Each day we work together we talk about the things of God (creation, marriage, and loving others) and we listen to Christian music and sermons by well known pastors (who we believe teach correct theology) from around the country. Mike is an encouragement to me and many others in our workplace. He helps to strengthen me by example, and always has my permission to hold me accountable as a brother in Christ. I can only hope that I do the same for him. I am very happy to call him my brother in Christ!
With my work schedule, I can only attend church once every other week at home, so it's a bit difficult to get connected with other Christian men on my time off. Is it an accident that in such a harsh world we are blessed with like minded believers when AND where they are needed. I think not! As a matter of fact, isn't that the reason for the church, to come together and uplift and encourage each other in Jesus' name?
And isn't it encouraging that in a cursed world where we are hated by that world for His name's sake while enduring difficulties in life that Jesus promises us this...
"For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them." -Matthew 18:20
God's plan is always perfect and there are no accidents. Obey Him and be someone's bright spot right where you are... and know that he is always in your midst!
I hope you are encouraged by this.
We're right in the middle of summer so don't forget to go outside and explore the things God has made even if it's just in your own backyard!