Michelle and I had the opportunity to attend a conference in Chicago. In the four years that we have been in the Midwest, I have been to this world-class city a few times, but never to just casually walk around and take in the sights like this.
Obviously, we were impressed with the city and particularly how they have managed to create a unique blend of the old and the new. We saw young families, couples, lots of children, plenty of tourists and of course, those who were hawking their wares.
Over the years, I have been in my share of world-class cities, both in America and abroad. I have always enjoyed visiting the city but never have had a passion to live there. A little too much concrete and not enough trees and grass for me. At the end of the day, I guess I really am a country boy at heart and mind. My soul doesn’t necessarily breath in the big city environment and context.
As we walked around Chicago and experienced the hustle and bustle of busy city life, we walked past the multitudes of tourists, the homeless, and those who were looking about as lost as we probably did! In the middle of that moment, I heard the Lord whisper something to my heart that I think I instinctively knew but had never felt the passion as strong as He communicated it on the corner of Michigan and Monroe.
I clearly heard the Lord speak to my spirit that every single person that I was passing was created for a very unique purpose in the kingdom of God and that He had a plan for each of them. As the Lord continued to impress this on my heart, He said that He not only had a plan and purpose but that He had specifically invested in each one corresponding gift relative to those plans.
At that moment, my perspective completely changed! I didn’t see people as lost, but I began to see them as gifts. Many times, we want to lead people to Christ in order to “save” them from hell. Obviously, that’s huge, but being redeemed isn’t only about eternal salvation, it’s about redeeming lives and gifts and destinies to be lived out on the earth. The people that you live around, work with, pass in the mall and that is a part of your world...they are gifts from the Lord and the redemptive plans and purposes of God are to bring those gifts to life. God wants to breathe His life on the embers of their spirit and soul and launch them into an exciting world of being His child.
May God use us to bring light into the darkness, hope into despair, peace into conflict and healing into hurt.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”