What a difference Jesus makes

Friday, December 14, 2007

As we celebrate Christmas in just a few days, we might ask ourselves the question: "Does this Christ-child whom we worship make difference in the lives of those who follow Him?" The answer to that question is that He certainly should be making a difference. I've heard two stories just recently of people in our community who have surely brought a smile to Jesus' face. I know these people personally, and I know He's made a difference in their lives. I thought their story might encourage you as it has encouraged me.

The first one involves Linda Baker. Linda was recently down on "the Landing" in Branson, Mo. and wandered into one of the local stores there. She was looking for greeting cards of some kind, and as she went to the back of the store and around the end of an aisle, she turned to find a bank bag on the floor. She picked it up and could feel that there was something inside of it. She unzipped the bag to find more money in that bag than she'd ever seen in her life. There was no identification on the bag as to who it belonged to. At that point, of course, Linda had a choice to make as to what to do with that money. She could have easily slipped it inside her coat and rejoiced in her "good fortune," or she could pursue who that bag might belong to.

She chose the latter. She went up to the lady at the cash register and asked her if she had lost a bank bag. "No," the lady said. Linda proceeded to show her what she had found, and the lady was about as shocked at the amount of money as what Linda was. Linda decided to trust that lady and leave the bag with her, thinking surely someone would come back looking for the bag.

The next day Linda decided to follow up on the bank bag to see what "the rest of the story" might be. As she entered the store, the same lady at the cash register "lit up like a light bulb." She said, "You sure made a lady happy yesterday." She proceeded to tell Llinda that not too long after she had left the store, a lady had come into the store in a "tizzy." She had lost a bank bag with lots of money in it. As it turned out, the money was from a local enterprize there. The gal was supposed to be making a bank deposit and apparently had gotten side-tracked in that store and almost was in an unexplainable mess.

Thank God for Linda's integrity, and what an example to each of us! Most often we hear the news concentrating on those who "run with the money bag." But here's a person who was totally honest and tried to find out who the money bag belonged to. To me, that's refreshing and I'm sure it brought a smile to God's face, too.

I'll tell you one more story. This time it involves a young person from our community. A couple from our church made a stop at the local Sonic and, having received their order, paid for their meal and they left a tip for the car-hop, who happened to be Jessica Scharenberg. Jessica is 19 years old and a student at Fort Scott Community College, as well as a member of our church. As Jessica was heading back to the store, she checked her tip she had received. It was a $100 bill. Wow! What a tip! But she sensed that maybe a mistake had been made. She reacted out of integrity. She ran after the couple and was fortunate enough to reach them before they pulled out of the parking lot. She asked them if they really intended to give her that $100 bill. It was indeed a mistake, and were they ever appreciative of Jessica's honesty!

Why do people react the way Linda and Jessica reacted inthese situations? It's because Christ has made a difference thei their life. the Christ-child whom we worship at Christmas time is more than just a baby in a manger. He is the Son of God who should be making a difference in the way we live our life. I hope and pray that He's making a difference in your life. True, we don't always respond the way we should. That's where His grace is so needed and appreciated. But His great grace motivates us to want to live a holy life.

Might each of you have a Christ-filled Christmas!