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Life At Its Best: Have generous faith

Dec. 9, 2011 at 6:09 a.m.

Jim Graff

By Jim Graff

Two-thirds of my fourth-grade class was boys. So, needless to say, we were a pretty rowdy group. We knew very well how to get under our teacher's skin and enjoyed doing it. In fact, we were so good at it that every CCD teacher quit the year after they had us - except my fourth-grade teacher.

I can still recall her serving us hot chocolate during Christmas and giving each of us a little windup toy. As soon as she would turn her back, we would wind the toy and aim it at someone's hot chocolate. You can imagine the mess we created for this poor teacher.

But she patiently held boundaries, overlooked our mischief and continued to teach throughout the year. I'm sure she wondered if she was getting through to any of us.

Well, wind the clock forward about 25 years, and I'm speaking/ at a relative's funeral in my hometown. I look across the congregation and recognize a familiar face - it's my fourth-grade CCD teacher. Her face is beaming at me as if to say, "I'm so glad I didn't give up on you."

What a difference it makes to have generous faith toward the people in our life - to recognize that their potential isn't determined by their past or present performance, but by God's power at work in their life.

Paul commands us in 2 Corinthians to, "Regard no one from a worldly point of view." He reminds us that because of Christ, we can begin to see each other through a different set of eyes - the eyes of faith.

Paul, of all people, knew the value of focusing on people's potential in God rather than on their past.

You may remember his story. Paul - then called Saul - was probably more responsible for the suffering and persecution of the early church than anyone else. And although he had a dramatic conversion to Christ, people still weren't quite sure if it was for real.

The Christians had a hard time believing how a guy who'd been so against the church could now be for it. There weren't many believers supporting Paul in his new walk of faith, but there were a few.

Ananias was one of the few who saw the potential in Paul and was willing to pray for him. Even though he was hesitant at first, and even a little afraid, God reminded him that Paul was his chosen instrument. Ananias helped Paul gain strength in God and see the future God had in store.

I've learned that it doesn't take a lot of people to believe in the potential that God put inside of us. It just takes a few people who will focus on what God wants to do and encourage it in our lives.

Who is it that needs you to help them see what God wants to bring about in their life. Let's be people of generous faith and see what God can do.

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria.faithfamilyvictoria.com.

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