Yesterday, in the hospital where she works as a Physician’s Assistant in orthopedic trauma, my daughter was repairing a tendon in the finger of a man when she found out he was a guitar-playing pastor. So she asked him if he had heard of me. “YOU’RE DAD IS JOHN FISCHER?” he exclaimed, a little too loudly for anyone’s comfort – his enthusiasm undoubtedly bolstered by the morphine she had administered. “I’M A CHRISTIAN TODAY BECAUSE OF YOUR DAD!”
Now, how cool is that? Not that I did anything, but that I got to find out about it. That’s what’s unusual about this story. Getting to find out about what God did.
Actually I didn’t do anything here specifically in relation to this guy. I just did what I do. Had this encounter never happened, I would not have known anything about this. That’s because God did this; it’s His secret formula for spreading His truth and getting things done eternally.
This is true for every one of us. There are people whose lives have been touched forever in some way by you, and you don’t know anything about it. That’s because the affecting of a life is not because of what we do; it’s what God does through us while we are doing everything else, that will change the world.
I know I can say with confidence that whoever you are, whatever you do, God has and will touch someone through you. I know this because this is what God does. He uses all of us, and it seems to be mostly when we don’t even know it, or aren’t even trying. We are all pieces of the puzzle that, when fit together, tells the story of God’s redemption of the human race. Someday you might find out what God did because of you, but that’s not important. What’s important is that God did it.
And now I know of a man who can still worship God with his guitar today because of my daughter, and that’s pretty cool, too.
Following is a piece by Marti that gives a window into the mystery of how God works. This is how we see ourselves as God uses us in the world.
by Marti Fischer
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:9-14 NIV)
The tax collector’s prayer incorporates little; he recognizes himself as the lowest, worse kind of being – a sinner, and, as a sinner, he realizes he will never be any better in and of himself.
There is no account of him adding: “But … a sinner of merit, or a sorry sinner, or a reformed sinner because I am going to be different from now on, or an honest sinner because I am willing to tell you the whole thing, or a praying sinner as I humble myself before you.”
He proposes no joint ventures: “Lord, I have a part that I can contribute which you desperately need, and I am willing to invest my two cents in this enterprise if you will do the rest.”
Rather he recognizes that he has absolutely nothing to contribute to God’s cause. He is praying out of utter bankruptcy.
He begs, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
He is not prideful, trusting in his own abilities rather than trusting God, nor is he regarding other people with contempt and disrespect, nor is he praying to himself about himself, nor is he laying before God his faithful service or casting himself wholly upon God during emergencies only, nor suggesting that he is a marvelous blessing to God as the Pharisee did, “I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector, nor does he point out what he has done for God as did the Pharisee, “I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
The tax collector understands, as we must, that he has no abilities in himself. We, like the tax collector, never feel adequate to meet any situation apart from Jesus Christ. Prayer, therefore, is an expression of an awareness of helpless need that can only be met by God.
The tax collector comes from a place of apprehensiveness with a humble heart and simply begs for mercy before a holy God. He is aware that the only way he has access to God is through divine mercy (Daniel 9:18-19). Such access is not earned; it is the product of God’s grace.