Every Life Has Worth
by Dr. Ken Matto
(2 Tim 1:16 KJV) The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

Onesiphorus is only mentioned twice in the Bible, both times in the book of 2 Timothy. His name means “one who profits or profit bringer.” We read that he and his household had refreshed him. The word “refreshed” carries with it the idea of getting a second wind or reviving. I know when the weather is hot, many find refreshment in the air conditioning or with a cold drink. Here Paul is speaking of a spiritual refreshment when he comes in contact with Christians who have not allowed themselves to succumb to apostasy. It is a rare thing these days to find any Christians who have not allowed themselves to be carried away with every wind of doctrine.

In December, normally our thoughts turn to the impending Christmas season and with it comes the airing of probably one of the best movies ever made, simply because it had a sense of reality to it. I am speaking of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. As you know Clarence the Angel was trying to earn his wings and he was assigned to George Bailey when he was considering committing suicide when his Savings and Loan came up short because his Uncle Billy lost the $8,000 deposit in the evil Mr. Potter’s bank. So George Bailey goes out to a bridge ready to jump off and when he attempts to do so, Clarence jumps in first and then afterwards in the watchman’s shack on the bridge, George makes the statement that it would have been better had he not been born. Then Clarence allows that to be the case. He was never born and when he went back into town, he knew everybody but no one knew him. Then Clarence was able to reveal to him how important his life is especially since he saved his brother’s life and prevented the druggist, Mr. Gower, from accidentally poisoning one of his customers. If George wasn’t there, then his brother would have died and the patient would have been poisoned. Of course, at the end of the movie, no matter how bad the situation was, he learned a valuable lesson, that every life is important because of the way it touches countless others.

The theme of that movie reminds me so much of the Christian life. No matter who we are or what our social status is in this life, we will touch thousands of people in our life and the majority of them we will never even meet in this life. For example, if you gave $25 to World Missionary Press to print tracts, they will print 625 for that amount. Those tracts may be sent to countries like Iraq or Ecuador. The people who receive them will not know who funded it but will receive them. This is just one scenario. If you gave that for 12 months, you would reach 7500 people or more in one year. What about sending back one tract with a bill. Suppose the person who reads it becomes saved, then they begin to do the same thing and now you have one convert who is now sending tracts. Suppose in their life they send out tracts and 100 become saved. From your one tract, thousands will be reached in the process of time. This is why the Bible counsels us not look down upon doing small things.
(Zec 4:10 KJV) For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

Every Christian life has value and even though we may be in a situation which prevents us from having a large ministry, every Christian life has the potential to reach thousands for Christ. You became saved because God got the Word of God to you in some manner. It could have been through a tract, radio ministry, or even short-wave ministry. It doesn’t matter because whatever the medium was it was funded by faithful Christians. From the time of the first century, Christianity was spread by word of mouth and the written page. We became saved because someone told someone who told someone down through the centuries until someone told us or funded the way we heard the gospel. We may never know, until we get to Glory, who was in our spiritual line. This is why we are to remain faithful in our Christian walk so we may continue the sending forth of the Gospel to the next generation. It does not matter how small your contribution is as long as you are remaining faithful in whatever part the Lord assigns you.

You may not reach more than ten people, but those ten people will eventually fan out in their ministry. Your involvement in their life will perpetuate their involvement in the lives of others. Christians have been responsible over the years for even supplying things like clothing and medical care to those who may never become saved. We not only reach those whom God has chosen for salvation, but we reach countless of those who never become saved. A Christian rescue mission will never turn anyone away which results in many benefiting from the Christian community. I can just imagine how many thousands the Pacific Garden Mission (www.pgm.org) in Chicago has reached since it opened in 1877, 127 years ago. Then think about how many who had become saved and then went into similar work. Right here in New Jersey is a place called America’s Keswick (www.americaskeswick.org)  which offers the “Colony of Mercy” which has been ministering to alcoholics since 1897. I had an opportunity to be a part of this ministry and one of the great things about it, that those who become saved begin to live Christian lives where families are restored and couples come back together. All of this is free to the men by means of donations by caring Christians. Even the simple act of writing a check can help change a life.

In the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” when George Bailey started realizing how important his life really was, he wanted to go back and begin to live again. This is how we would react if we came to the understanding that our life is as important as those famous people on TV. As Christians, we don’t need to be famous to make an impact in this life for the Gospel. All we need is to be faithful to Christ in our mission and He will handle the extent of our ministries. I have mentioned from time to time brother David Berkowitz, ex Son of Sam, who now has a ministry which reaches beyond the walls of the prison where he is incarcerated for life. He ministers the Gospel to many people, through in person visits and through tapes which are made by those who come to interview him. Through the efforts of one prisoner who gave him a tract in 1987, he now ministers the Gospel to many prisoners and is an assistant to the Chaplain.

I know a person who became saved by finding a tract which was left in a row boat. This person read it and became saved. The smallest contribution in the kingdom of God, not necessarily money, can yield great results. This is why the Lord used the parable of the Mustard Seed in Matthew 13. It is one of the smallest seeds yet when it is sown properly it grows into a great tree. Your spiritual family tree is built the same way. You plant a small seed and when that seed germinates in the soul of another, you begin to have a large spiritual family that will grow until the last day when the Lord reaps the harvest.

Another interesting lesson the Lord Jesus Christ taught when He was here on earth is found in Luke 16:9.
(Luke 16:9 KJV) And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. How does one make friends with money? By using it according to the principles taught in Scripture. John Wesley gave some good advice on the handling of money. He stated, “Make all you can, Save all you can, and Give all you can.” This is excellent advice, especially in the giving department. This is what the Lord had in mind. We make friends with unrighteous mammon when we invest it in the kingdom of God and those who become saved through the ministries we support will welcome us into Heaven. Now I don’t pretend to know exactly what that entails but nevertheless there will be joy in the hearts of many who became saved through our faithfulness in living and imparting the Christian Faith.

Even though we may be in tough situations in our Christian walk, we can look at it and realize that it is a wonderful life. Some may be reading this or some may be given this who feel that they have had no impact on others for the Kingdom of God. Think back for a moment, was there anyone you told about the Gospel? Did you help out at church? Did you help support missions? Were you a personal friend to someone in a crisis time in their life? If you look back, you will find many ways that you may have impacted someone. It may have only been a Mustard Seed but Mustard Seeds in the hands of God are akin to a forest. If you gave someone a tract and they rebuked you for it, you definitely made an impact for the Kingdom of God. Count also the times you were rebuffed for the Gospel’s sake. Remember salvation and its timing are not in your hands but they are totally in God’s hands. Noah preached for a century and how many were in the Ark? Eight! I have had the following little saying pasted in the inside cover of my Bible for about 20 years and it says, “Noah was faithful to God’s message even though there were no results.” Keep that in mind. We are to be faithful whether we see one thousand persons become saved or none.

Even if you see none become saved, you are making an impact for the Kingdom of God. We do not need to see the results, they are in the hands of God. At the outset of World War 2, Winston Churchill stated on radio, “Give us the tools and we will finish the job.” God has given us the tools but He will finish the job when the last one on the last day becomes saved. Let us get the word out to this world. The Word is the Tool! When we sow that word, God will not allow it to return void because He says it will accomplish what He sends it out to do. It will either be sent out to save or to judge. Let God decide amongst the two, you just be faithful.  (12/03/04)