My wife was always a joyful crusader for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She worked outside the home for the first five years of our marriage before we started our family. For the first three years she was a teacher at the First Presbyterian Preschool in our home town. Then she did a stint at the SRJC and ended up at Hewlett Packard for about six months before going on maternity leave.
Piper was the youngest teacher at the preschool by at least five years or more and the kids just loved her. Let’s face it, with her small stature, at barely twenty-two, she looked like the kid’s big sister! At Christmas time each year they showered her with many creative homemade or specialty store ornaments. That’s actually why I couldn’t put up a tree this year as those ornaments hold too many strong, vibrant and heartfelt memories of Piper’s and my early years together.
During her time at the school and the other two organizations, she lived her strong Baptist heritage and newly received Charismatic giftings in her usual encouraging and enthusiastic manner. Her only one concern about not returning to work after her maternity leave was over, was that she wouldn’t be able to share her Christianity with others outside the home on a daily basis. She prayed long and hard about this until she felt the Lord speaking to her heart one day telling her that He would bring the people to her front door… and you know? That’s exactly what happened!
I can’t tell you how many neighborhood kids and their parents received salvation and/or the Good News of the Gospel through her joyful lifestyle and ability to have the right word at the right time! She had a tenacity about her that would not give up on those in need. She knew the power of the Word of God to change lives and possessed an uncanny ability to share a practical application of the Word into almost every situation. But it wasn’t pushy or overbearing… it was just Piper living her life with you!
If the Word said it, she believed it to be true and lived her life accordingly. 2Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (EMTV) She believed the truth of that verse and used it through her example and sweet and encouraging words to influence many a troubled life.
Another scripture she adhered to was Ephesians 4:11-12 where the Apostle Paul tells us that the five-fold ministries of the apostle, the prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher were given of God for the purpose of “the perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ,” (EMTV)
I had a Pastor that I worked under one time explain to me that while the Pastoral staff of a church are to go out beyond the church to minister to the community, their main responsibility is to teach and prepare their congregation for “the work of the ministry” in their homes, their neighborhoods, their jobs and within the rest of their world.
And how do we best do that? From mine and Piper’s experience, it is by simply sharing your Christian lives with those around you. In my class on Personal Evangelism at Bible School, my instructor taught that the best way to share the Gospel message is by sharing what’s inside of you! So, yes… that means you’ve got to spend some regular amounts of time feeding and being fed on the Word of God. If you’re not full of the Word on the inside… everything else in there will come out when you live your life in the world.
I can’t think of a better time than this Christmas Season to share what’s inside of us… Wouldn’t you agree? I’ll be spending my Christmas this year with three of our four children and their families in and around Tulsa Oklahoma. And even though I couldn’t bear to spend my first Christmas alone without my Piper and need to be with them, I also plan to follow Paul’s instruction and “build up the body of Christ” and everyone else I come upon while vacationing in the Sooner State! I pray that you join in the fun as well wherever you reside!
Have a great rest of the week and a Blessed and Joyous Christmas!