Friday, March 9, 2012

I Don't Change Oil, I Change People

[This post was inspired by my pastor, Mike Hamlet, as he recently reminded me of someone we both know and how this person leverages his life for God's glory.]

Like most people, I make my tri-monthly trip to a local "quick-serve" garage to get my oil changed. Actually, it's more frequent than that as I have three vehicles to maintain. None-the-less, I have become a familiar face to the guy who works in the oil bay. His name is Joey.

It takes you just a few seconds to find out that Joey is a unique person. It's not that he has some noticeable external attribute that makes him unique. Quite simply, he cares about people. In the course of my frequent visits, he's discovered that I work at a church and thus branded me as "Rev." He always asks me what books I've read or am currently reading. And then in the few moments we have before I give him my car keys, he finds a way to encourage me...and it works.

You see, Joey doesn't change oil, he changes people. He understands what it means to leverage the life that God has given him to make an impact on the countless people he encounters each day. If you missed my post on "Leveraging Your Life," you might want to back-track and check it out.  The premise is that we all have a life given to us by God. He chose when to bring us into the world and where. And He did so, that we might use our lives for His glory. What does that look like?

Give Each Day to Him: Each morning, we need to get out of bed not saying, "Good Lord it's morning," but rather, "Good morning Lord!" Every day is an opportunity to use the life He's given us to make a difference in the life of each person we encounter.

Love God, Love People: I hope that sounds familiar. It's a paraphrase of the Greatest Commandment found in the Bible. God desires that we love the people He created...even the "bad" ones. Why? Because He loves them and wants a relationship with them. When we see people the way He sees people, we'll love people the way He loves people. And when we love people, we love God.

Open Your Eyes, Not Your Mouth: Have you ever noticed that we have two eyes and two ears? Could it be that God wants us to look and listen twice as much as we talk? If we'll slow down a little and start looking around, we'll see plenty of ways we can encourage and empower others.

Recognize People: This is huge. Our culture has conditioned most people to go through life avoiding "collisions." Our natural tendency is to stay quiet when around strangers. All it takes is one trip on a full elevator to confirm that opinion. It's the people who resist that conditioning and engage with others that tend to stand out and get remembered and valued.

Yield to the Urge to Act: I believe it is within all of us to make a difference in the lives of others. More often than not, we feel an urge to act, but we convince ourselves that we need not waste our time. We can rationalize our inaction with a plethora of valid reasons to keep to ourselves.

So do it! Go leverage your life for God's glory. That's why He's given you the life you have. It's not yours. If you'll use it in this way, I promise, your life will have a greater sense of purpose and value. You won't see your job as an "oil changer", but rather a people changer.

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