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Welcome back to Beliefnet’s exclusive Bill Hybels devotional, “Living with Grander Vision.” This feed will appear in your profile every day for three full weeks. Did you miss any entries? Just stay subscribed, and the feed will begin again at the end of its cycle.
Chuck Colson served as chief counsel to President Nixon in the early 1970s. He was in the epicenter of political, social, and economic power and privilege, by all accounts living the good life. But things aren’t always what they seem.
In his quest for significance, Colson had looked to his college education, his academic honors, his military recognition, his law degree, and his experience working alongside the president of the United States. But he still felt empty, hollow, purposeless, and defeated.
Although Colson wasn’t directly involved in the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation, peripheral activities landed him in an Alabama prison for seven months. It was during his incarceration that Colson finally looked to Christ. And once the grander vision of following God had seized him, Colson committed the rest of his days to helping once-hardened criminals find new life too.
Colson went to the Philippines one time to meet a former inmate who had been led to Christ through the worldwide ministry Colson had built, Prison Fellowship International. The man was an entrepreneur at heart who had found the love of God and now wanted to help fellow prisoners get back on their feet. With aid from local churches, the man established a system whereby recently released prisoners would receive a small loan toward their purchase of a pedicab. For most of these men, “pedicab driver” would be the first real job they’d ever had.
When Colson entered the grounds of PFI’s headquarters in Manila, he saw thirty-five shiny pedicabs lined up in the parking lot, their new owners proudly standing beside them. As he studied the humble faces looking back at him, Colson caught sight of a four-year-old girl running toward the line. Spotting her father, she rushed to his side and with a smile threw her small arms around his leg. Her countenance told everyone present just how happy she was that her daddy was no longer in prison. The father’s chest puffed out a little as he stood there choking back the tears and stroking his daughter’s long, brown hair.
Later, Chuck Colson wrote about that experience, saying that the joy in seeing the transformation of one man’s life rose head and shoulders above every other accomplishment he had known. Getting up close to the ones nobody wanted to be close to proved the most significant work of his life.
It took a humbling situation to open Chuck Colson’s eyes. What have you learned through humbling situations of your own that you probably wouldn’t have learned any other way? Who are the types you are least likely to get close to–the poor, the diseased, those sitting behind prison bars, the annoying neighbor next door? Will you get up close today, choosing to love, because you have been loved; forgive because you have been forgiven; extend grace, because you have been given it?

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