By Pastor Kent Munsey
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
One person can make a difference. Take the examples of Dr. David Nalin and Lt. Col. Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov.
Dr. Nalin developed oral rehydration therapy while working in Bangladesh during a 1968 cholera epidemic. Where there used to be 3 to 5 million deaths attributable to cholera, Nalin’s breakthrough has saved millions of lives from cholera and any type of diarrhea.
Lt. Col. Petrov of the Soviet Air Defence Forces is known as "the man who single-handedly saved the world from nuclear war." Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Soviet’s nuclear early-warning system. When the system reported that missiles had been fired by the United States, Petrov strayed from protocol and judged the report to be a false alarm. Protocol would have been to fire back. As a result of Petrov’s actions, wide scale nuclear war was avoided, leading to a conservative estimate of one billion lives saved.
Whatever we may be doing, each of us can make a difference. Hebrews 11 lists individuals regarded as heroes of the faith and one of them is Noah (Hebrews 11:7).
Genesis 6:8-9 (NKJV)
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
God called Noah to build an ark to save the human race from being wiped out in a global flood. This required great faith and obedience on Noah’s part, and the willingness to look foolish as he followed the direction of God. When God asked Noah to build this boat, Noah had to start from the ground up: he even planted the seeds to grow the trees to have the wood to build the boat. It may have seemed like Noah didn’t have the resources to do what God was asking of him, but in the seeds for the trees, he had everything he needed to fulfill the call to build. We can be confident that God has given us everything we need to do what he’s calling us to do (2 Peter 1:3).
The task of building the boat took him over 43,000 days, making it the longest recorded act of obedience in scripture. Noah’s obedience saved not only his family but every species of animal from extinction.
In order to make a difference, we must have faith and believe that God has not just saved us but also called us. Noah’s story teaches us three keys to making a difference in the world.
From Noah, we learn to:
1. Walk with God every day.
When we walk with God, he speaks to us. Noah found grace with God by walking with him (Genesis 6:8-9). Being in relationship with God is not a weekend event. We should be in his word every day through the highs and lows. Sundays at church are a celebration of our relationship with God.
2. Do what God asks us to do.
Obedience to God is often not popular. However, in the Kingdom, if you are not willing to look foolish, you are foolish. Take the example of Sarah who believed God’s promise that she would bear a child at her old age; Moses, who demanded that Pharaoh let his people go; Joshua, who led israel to march around Jericho; David, who faced off with Goliath; the Wise Men, who followed a star to worship the infant Jesus; and Peter, who walked on water. They may have looked foolish when they were walking by faith in obedience, but God raised them up when he delivered the miracles he had promised and gave them victory over their enemies, their fears, and even the laws of nature.
3. Rest in God’s grace.
Doing what God has asked us to do is the only thing that will give our souls rest. Life will always be complicated, but when we are walking in the will of God, we will have rest and provision even in the complications and difficulties. The complications that come from sin or resisting the will of God will never bring us rest. When we walk in the will of God and do what he’s asked us to do, we find our grace place as he gives us strength for the things that we never thought we could do.
You are graced and empowered by God to make the difference only you can make.
What are practical ways to walk with God every day, not just on Sundays?
Have you ever heard God speak to you? Has he ever asked you to do something? How did you respond?
Take a moment to reflect on your life. Are you doing what you believe God has asked you to do? What are practical ways you can start to obey him more fully?
Have you ever found rest in a busy season as you followed God’s will? Think of a time when God has graced you to do more than you thought you could do in your own strength.
Noah found grace by walking with God. Are there areas in your life where you need grace? Try walking with God every day of this week and afterwards reflect on how and where you encountered his grace.