Tag Archive | George Bailey

What Difference Will It Make?

Warrior 2Legacy.

We hear that word a lot. From pastors and preachers to politicians and presidents, people want to know what difference they’ve made in the world. The legacy of a good person may be filled with multiple success stories and many lives changed for the better, with the positive effects of that life evident for generations to come (ie: Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Jonas Salk, etc.). Other, more notorious, historical figures leave a legacy of pain, destruction, and sorrow in their wake (ie: Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, etc).

It reminds me of a quote from the movie Gladiator. General Maximus was speaking to his troops when he said…

“What we do in life echoes through eternity.”

To put it another way, I like these words the unlikely angel Clarence Odbody said to George Bailey in the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life…

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to leave a Godly legacy…

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. ~ Proverbs 13:22

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts. ~ Psalms 145:4

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them
when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way,
when you lie down, and when you rise up. ~ Deut. 6:5-7

GB1

So maybe you are thinking, “What I do doesn’t matter.” If that is your thought, then I urge you to consider…

Edward Kimball.

In the 1850’s, while living in Massachusetts, Edward taught a Sunday school class of teenage boys (no easy feat, to be sure). While visiting a shoe store, he led a young clerk to faith in Christ — a young clerk named…

Dwight L. Moody.

Image result for D L MoodyD. L. Moody became a world-changing evangelist. During the Civil War, he ministered to both Union and Confederate soldiers. As founder of the Moody Church and the Moody Bible Institute, his voice and message were heard throughout the nineteenth-century world, in particular by…

Frederick Meyer.

Frederick (F.B.) was mentored by Moody, and went on to have his own nation-wide ministry; a ministry that touched the life of…

J. Wilbur Chapman.

Wilbur was a college student when he accepted Christ at a Meyer meeting. He became a world-renowned evangelist, preaching all over the world; extensively throughout Asia and Australia, and all over the United States. One of his meetings was attended by a young professional baseball player named…

Image result for Billy SundayBilly Sunday.

Billy’s life was changed at that Chapman meeting. He accepted the love of Jesus, and began preaching the Gospel across America. This former baseball-player-turned-fiery-evangelist preached to over 100 million people, not the least of whom was…

Mordecai Ham.

Saved under the ministry of Billy Sunday, Mordecai Ham saw over 300,000 people make professions of faith during his ministry. In November of 1934, Ham preached a crusade in Charlotte, NC. During one of the meetings, a young, lanky fellow by the name of Billy Frank accepted Christ as his Savior. Billy Frank went on to be a minister of the Gospel, preaching to an estimated 2.2 billion people across the globe. While some people in the Charlotte area knew him as Billy Frank, the rest of the world knows him better as…

Billy Graham bw photo, April 11, 1966.jpgBilly Graham.

The ministry of these men, whose ministries combined have seen billions come to faith in Christ, all started because a man named Edward Kimball allowed himself to be used by God to teach Sunday School to a group of rowdy teenage boys in Massachusetts.

So who are you reaching out to with your life? How are you being salt and light in a world that so desperately needs good influences? What kind word or witness can you share today with one person that may affect hundreds (or thousands) in years to come?

Really, you are the only one who can answer those questions. Maybe the idea that you could influence masses of people scares the daylights out of you. If so, just remember this little secret…

Don’t go about it trying to change the world. Just determine to influence one life at a time, and let God do the rest.

So, what difference will it make?

Time will tell, and Heaven will testify.

It’s A Wonderful Politically Correct Life

It’s THAT time of year. The time of tinsel and lights. The time of Christmas trees and trimming. The time of carols, peace on earth, and good will. It’s the time for…

It’s A Wonderful Life!

GB3No matter how many times we view it, it seems that every year, viewing the Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart classic is as much a tradition of the season of Christmas as decking the halls, drinking egg nog, or wearing ugly sweaters. No matter how many times we see the image of George Bailey running down the snow-filled streets of Bedford Falls, screaming to people, buildings, and other inanimate objects, it gives us hope to know that George will discover the deeper meaning of Christmas, that he will learn a lot about friendship and the love people have for him, that his life does matter, and that Clarence does get his wings.

And we learn all of this, and leave our seats with a warm and happy feeling of hope and joy — not just for George, but for ourselves as well — all the while leaning heavy on the spirit of Christmas, and ignoring…

Political correctness.

Regardless of your political persuasion, the vast majority of people who watch It’s A Wonderful Life (and for that matter, most other Christmas classics) are forced to ignore a fair amount of what we would now term “political correctness”. We have to ignore portrayals, dialogue, and stereotypes that fly in the face of our 2015 social sensibilities. We tend to overlook these things for a variety of reasons…

“Well, that show was filmed a long time ago.”

“Culture was very different then.”

“It’s the season of good will… let it slide.”

GB1“So what are you saying Pastor??? Are you saying that we should crack down on George Bailey, Santa Claus, Frosty, and Rudolph???”

Not at all, and quite the opposite. What I am saying is that maybe we have allowed political correctness to run amok. Maybe we should take a long, hard look at what we consider politically correct, and stop wasting our time fighting over things that matter not an iota while the world goes to Hell. Maybe we should cut each other the slack in January through November that we afford George, Sam Wainwright (“hee haw!!!”), Uncle Billy, and even Old Man Potter in December. Maybe the fact that we are less offended in December lies less in a spirit of good will, and more in the fact that we have become a culture that works very hard to be offended, and go out of our way to wear every offense like a badge of honor. We have become perpetual victims, moving from offense to offense, looking for the next people group we can turn into the next victim and downtrodden minority.

Are there legitimate poor and afflicted in this world?

Absolutely.

My point is that the person waiting in the wings, stirring up dissension, and cashing in on the next “soapbox of social injustice” is probably not a crusader for a cause… they are more than likely simply a voice of division and disharmony and simply cashing in.

The Bible cautions us…

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,
For anger rests in the bosom of fools…

Also do not take to heart everything people say,

Lest you hear your servant cursing you.
For many times, also, your own heart has known
That even you have cursed others. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:9, 21-22

Fools show their annoyance at once,
    but the prudent overlook an insult. ~ Proverbs 12:16 (NIV)

Sure, there are things we need to take a stand for… TRUTH being chief among them. But when we go into every situation intent on being offended, we probably won’t be disappointed.

GB2Honestly, we would do well to rediscover the ability to laugh at ourselves. Proverbs 17:22 says that a merry heart does good, like a medicine… But when the offense is legitimate or grave, we should probably step back, take a long look at the situation and our motives, and ask if our offense is better fought through confrontation or prayer.

Then take it to prayer.