Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
If I were to ask you to name someone who has been used by God in your life to change it for the better could you? Would there be more than one person? Hopefully the answer to both questions would be yes.
Off hand I can name three who have had a solid impact on my life. Men who have been used by God to help me along. To be sure there have been others but for the sake of time I would like to write about just these three.
The first was a lost man. His name is Z. He hated his first name and his last name began with Z so he asked everyone to call him that. I was backslidden at the time I worked with him I had been called to preach even but had walked away from God. Conversations with him were akin to assault and battery, the whole time he would be talking he’d slap your back or punch your arm. But he was a free spirit with what he had to share in conversation. Straight as an arrow then crack a joke then back to sincere with the smoothest of transitions. When he got excited everyone in the building knew about it.
All I could think of listening to this guy was how I wished that back when I preached that I could have gotten that fired up. I am an introvert so usually reserved in my speech (in fact my writing is slow and deliberate). One day while listening to Z I got to thinking about how excited I could get at the ballgame so what would be the difference? When I finally did get back into church and started preaching again I remembered that thought and prayed some about it. I got the best news in the world here, the Gospel, I very well should get excited about delivering it!
The second man is a former pastor of mine Bill Hayes. When I had first been called to preach he had been there at the revival that night and told me once I got my spiritual feet under me he would have me come preach for him and he did. When I first got back into church we were attending the church he pastors at and after a few months he came up to me one Sunday and asked me to preach the following Sunday. I told him I didn’t know if God would let me preach again, I had been backslidden for 10 years and I wasn’t a good boy during that time. He quoted Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” With that verse and his request I had received the answer to a prayer that I had been praying for quite a while. Such encouragement is greatly needed in this world. People mess up but God can still use everyone if we will let Him.
The third is my current pastor Clemon Chappell Jr. He has shared knowledge with me, suggested books to me to read, even bought me some books, and of course introduced me to how to do word studies in the Bible. Glean as much information as I can. I have taken this example and tried my best to incorporate it into mine own life and way toward others.
In the Bible we are also shown a man who had three key men in his life, John Mark. He had Barnabas to encourage him when others said to let him go (Acts 15:38,39). Peter came along at some point and took him under his wing and instructed him (1 Peter 5:13). Peter was also most likely Mark’s (John Mark) source material for the gospel that bears his name. Lastly when the chips were down and Paul was about to leave this world he requested Timothy go get John Mark and bring him to Paul because John Mark was profitable to him for the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). Not bad considering there was a time when Paul refused to ever be associated with John Mark again, Acts 15: 38,39.
I am sure there were others in his life but at the moment these 3 stand out.