According to The Wall Street Journal, tobacco is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in America. A U.S. Surgeon General report last month linked smoking to 480,000 deaths annually, and attributed at least $289 billion in annual costs to smoking. What can one person do about this problem?
Larry Merlo is a pharmacist who became CEO of CVS in 2011. Yesterday he announced: "The sale of cigarettes and tobacco at CVS pharmacy stores ends today. By eliminating the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in our stores, we can make a difference in the health of all Americans." His announcement is expected to pressure Walgreen, Rite Aid and Wal-Mart to adopt similar measures.
I spent an evening this week discussing cultural issues with a group of brilliant, passionate young adults. One of the questions that surfaced repeatedly was, "How can I make a difference?" They see the great needs of our culture and want their lives to count.
The next morning, I was reading 1 Samuel 10, where Samuel anointed Saul as Israel's first king. He promised that when Saul met a group of prophets, "the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man" (v. 6). That same day, "the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied" (v. 10).
Next, Samuel "called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah" (v. 17), where he presented Saul to the nation "and all the people shouted, 'Long live the king!'" (v. 24). Then Samuel "told the people all the rights and duties of the kingship" (v. 25). Finally, "Saul also went home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched" (v. 26).
What did God give the man he chose to lead his people? He anointed him, empowered him by his Spirit, conveyed the authority he would need, declared the rights and responsibilities of his work, and gave him "men of valor" to stand with him and for him. What more did Saul need to succeed in his God-given calling?
Your Lord will do the same for you. He has a Kingdom assignment only you can fulfill. Nothing is more important than obeying his call on your life, today. "Tomorrow" and "yesterday" do not exist. This day is the only day there is. Seeking and serving your Father's will is only way to prepare for eternity, and the best way to live today.
C. S. Lewis described God's intention for humanity: "He would have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure."
Are you living for eternity today? If you are, God is using your life to change your world. So be encouraged: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Do you agree?
Publication date: September 4, 2014
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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