Read: Philippians 1:21-26; Psalm 90:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11
The first day of fall. The season when, at least here, when the sun splashes through the windows each morning, we count it as a beautiful thing. The season where lots of birds come by to sing in groups and early morning provides us with a pleasing chill in the air. Another reminder that God is faithful to keep His promises and how He provides the changing seasons right on time, Genesis 8:22. Autumn is also traditionally the time for sprucing up and tidying up prior to the onset of winter. With that in mind, may I take a story from decades ago and share it again in a slightly up-dated version? Kind of like putting a coat of fresh paint on the shed.
The story I would like to retell concerns my friend Sandy. Her family had moved from Hot Springs to another town so they could be close to her parents. She was glad to live near so she could take walks with her father which was a blessing for her. Both her dad and mom were very careful about what they ate, in order to remain as healthy as possible. They even ate very few eggs each week in keeping with the wisdom of that time. Sandy's dad had just gone for a physical and he was pronounced to be in good health. He wasn't afraid to die since both he and Sandy's mother loved the Savior. Even so, the report that all was well was good news. However, only a few days after having received that clean bill of health, Sandy's dad died of a massive heart attack.
I'll never forget what Sandy told me shortly after having learned of her father's passing. She told me that she had a new desire for her life. Her father's passing was a reminder to her that life is short. Though her dad had been ready to meet the Lord, Sandy knew that many didn't have that same Hope. If they died unexpectedly as her father did, it would be unlikely that they would step into heaven. She also was reminded that there were believers like herself who could benefit by receiving the encouragement she could give.; Therefore, it was her desire that each day that she would tell someone about her Jesus or encourage another believer. I haven't thought about Sandy's challenge for quite some time, but this week, I was reminded to dust it off and bring it out of storage.
When Sandy's father passed away, his opportunities to tell people about what Jesus had done for him came to an end. He finished his earthly service for the Lord that day. His opportunities to encourage others ceased, Hebrews 3:13;1 Thessalonians 5:11. Oh yes, he went to be with the Savior which Paul said was a far better option, Philippians 1:21-26, but Sandy knew that she was still here, and her desire on that day was that she take any opportunity that God might provide each day. What a lovely lesson she gave me that day as we spoke together on the phone. Sandy was reminded that none of us knows how many days Jesus has planned for us, and she wanted those days to count.
Psalm 90:12 reminds us to consider the brevity of the number of days we have here and apply that knowledge to how we live. Even if we live well into our 90s, God is able to provide opportunities to tell His story and spur one another on to love and good deeds, Hebrews 10:24-25. Is this yet another burden to strap on? Another thing to add to an already too long to do list? It doesn't have to be if we rely and rest in the Holy Spirit. We only need to be available and ready for the Lord to use us. Perhaps an example that I heard years ago could be helpful. Consider the kitchen faucet. It is there when it is time to wash both tomatoes and soak pans; however, there are many times during each day when it simply sits there doing nothing. All night, it is idle. It is available for us to do what it has been built to do.
Isn't that true for us as believers? We say to the Lord that we are available to Him to tell others about Jesus and we want to be one who lifts others up with our words. What if, in spite of our want to, neither of those things occurs on a given day. Does that mean we have done something wrong? No, perhaps on that given day, the Lord was pleased just knowing that we were available to Him and anxious to speak if He gave the opportunity.
What a gracious God to remind me of Sandy's words.
Lord, we are available. Help us to be sensitive so we will know when You want us to speak and when You simply want us to be ready to do so.