God with Skin On

"Greater love has no one than this; that one lay down his life for his friends." —John 15:13 (NIV)

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend's sermons, but he heard them often.

One night, the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but since the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light for practice. The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board, arms extended outward. It was then that he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body was in the shape of a cross. The man felt as if someone was speaking to him. The words of his Christian friend filled his mind. In his heart, he suddenly realized the truth. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally asked God to come into his life. As the young transformed diver stood to his feet, a maintenance man walked in and turned on the lights. The pool had been drained for repairs.

I often wonder how many desperate people cross my path each day — people who are one step away from certain destruction; people whose very life direction can be changed by the Light of God in and through my interaction with them.

If you are like me, every day is crammed full of tasks, errands, deadlines, demands and activities.

I run headlong through each twenty-​four hours from the minute my feet hit the floor until I crawl into bed each night. It is in those quiet moments before sleep that I hear Him ask, “Did you make a difference today? Is someone closer to the Light because you told him or her what I have done in your life? Did you recognize that 'intruder' or 'interruption' as a divine appointment from me instead of an inconvenience? Does what you did today really matter?”

Sadly, I have to confess that I often miss opportunities to participate in eternal business because I am so focused on earthly business. My agenda becomes my god and time management my idol.

I could have been “God with skin on” to the frustrated cashier at the grocery store instead of brushing her aside because I was in a hurry to do something I deemed more important.

I could have blessed the friend who called, needing an encouraging word, instead of preaching an unsolicited sermon in the name of compassion.

I could have taken a few more minutes to listen when the elderly man struck up a conversation with me at the gas pump instead of walking away, leaving him just as lonely as he was when we met.

Jesus would have done things differently.

With every breath, He was aware of the hurting and wounded, pursuing the broken people instead of avoiding them. Jesus carefully and deliberately invested every moment of His time on earth. And there has never been a life that made such a difference or mattered so much.

I want my life to really count, don’t you?

We are never more like God than when we are reaching out in love to meet a need, comfort a broken heart, encourage a weary soul, or challenge the darkness with His Light. On your journey today, look for those desperate ones who need you to be God with skin on.

About Mary Southerland

Mary Southerland is the Stress Buster — a leader at helping women manage stress and enjoy peace in their daily lives. Mary serves the local church as the women’s ministry motivator, inspiring thousands of women to participate in Bible studies, life groups, […]

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  1. Harriet Cozier says

    Good morning Mary, this devotion is very profound and practical. I find it thought provoking and challenging. May almighty God our heavenly Father continue to bless you with spiritual knowledge. Blessed new year to you and your family.

  2. I Love this article. Thank you.

  3. Great message — we all need to be more aware of the people around us. I confess to be too much like this women to busy to notice but I know God isn't!

  4. Beautiful story of Jesus at work.

  5. Elaine Robinson says

    I really enjoyed this message. Thank you.

  6. Lord, help me to see people as divine appointments and not interruptions or inconveniences.

  7. Joy Moss Miller says

    I am so glad you shared this with us, Mary. It is an encouragement to me to not only continue to be "God with skin on," but to continually ask for the Holy Spirit's help to become more and more aware of those opportunities. Some years ago the Spirit led me to notice the cashiers/​checkers at retail and grocery stores where I shopped and the servers at restaurants where I ate. Most of my life I have just gotten through the line or made To Do lists while sitting at a table, already planning what I had to get done as soon as I left. I never really gave a thought to the person checking my items or serving me. But the Spirit gave me our Heavenly Father's perspective on these dear people — He loves them! And if He loves them, then so must I. Now I pray for each cashier/​checker/​server as soon as I notice them, and then I make a point to say, "I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and I love to pray for people. I have been praying for you as I was waiting, and I will be praying for you as I leave to go to my car. Is there anything special I can pray for? Health? Family? Finances?" It is amazing to see the response, for many are so very grateful to know that someone cares enough to take time to go to God on their behalf. There have even been occasions to share my faith and to encourage that individual to turn to the God Who loves them.

  8. A great reminder that we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you Mary.

  9. Wonderful reminder of others who need Jesus and God ordering our steps to the lost.Thank you.

  10. Thank you reminding us of our purpose in life, to reach and touch the broken and come up those who need to be rescued.

  11. MayAnn Huehn says

    Its a reminder to step out of my comfort zone & attend to others need

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