What does God want me to do ?
Every now and then you probably have a day like I felt I had yesterday – one in which it seems like you’re just spinning your wheels and not really accomplishing anything.
Actually, it seems like I have more and more of those days as I try to get a grasp on the changes that have occurred in our home. Diana’s physical struggles are still keeping her limited to her chair or bed or an occasional outing in a wheelchair, so the rest of us are trying to make up for all the things she used to do as well as provide some level of support for her. She hasn’t been upstairs in our house in close to six months, nor has she been able to prepare a meal or do any of the hundreds of things she used to do. So, you can imagine that the kids and I work hard to keep all the plates spinning at home and try to maintain connection with the church as well. Yesterday seemed to be one of those days of just frantically turning from spinning pole to spinning pole.
The one thing I could look back on and say, “This was significant,” may seem very small to you. (It does to me, too.) I was able to sit down and return a letter from a month ago to an 87-year-old member of our former church in France.
Every year in January, Simone sends us a handwritten greeting with wishes for the new year and news of herself, the church in France, and her family. She will be 88 years old this May and was expecting her 20th great-grandchild in January. She lives alone but she is not alone because she has made herself a friend to many people, … and her extended family – children, spouses, grandchildren and spouses, and great-grandchildren – now numbers 65 people. She keeps up the large home where she and her husband lived for many years, as well as the garden that surrounds it. (I’ve attached a picture of Simone, along with some other church members, to this email, if you’re able to open it. Simone is on the front row on the far right, in a violet-colored dress.)
Every year Simone writes, and every year I am slow to write her back … for two reasons :
There is the emotional pang of missing people, a culture, and chapter of our life that seems closed forever.
Sitting down with pen in hand to write a letter in French has become hard work for me (lazy person that I am) !
Yesterday, I got the return letter written, and it was one of my significant accomplishments for the day.
Sometimes we ask ourselves what God has for us to do. Our vision is oftentimes big and long-term. We want big, important things to do for the Lord – things we can plan for, and organize for, and raise money for, and chart progress towards, and say at the end of it all, “Look what I’ve done for God !” Yesterday, I honestly asked myself the question, “Is this all I’m good for to God — to write a letter to an elderly friend ?”
It’s what God gave me to do yesterday.
And, frankly, when I read the Gospels what I see are events turning and lives changing based on seemingly small things people did :
A boy gave up his lunch for the Lord and for a crowd of hungry people.
A woman put two small coins into the offering at the Temple.
Someone loaned a boat for Jesus to preach from on the Sea of Galilee.
Someone was a messenger carrying the message to Jesus of a person in need.
Some women brought materials to care for the dead body of the Lord.
No particular glory in those tasks. Just people who did what God gave them to do that day.
What has God given you to do today ?
support your family ?
pray for someone ? (I’m seeing God more and more like an earthly father – He likes to give His children things they ask for, just as most of us who are parents really do enjoy giving our kids the things they ask for. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, and sometimes God, who knows better, doesn’t give what we ask for. But, we should ask Him anyway !)
make a phone call ?
give an invitation to a church event or Bible study ?
encourage a young person ?
take time to talk to a young person ? (They have so much to say, if we would stop, look them in the eye, and listen.)
bake a treat for someone ?
pray with someone ?
I’m reminded of the four areas in which we were challenged to excel last Sunday, in our short study of the coming Day of the Lord as presented in 1 Thessalonians 4 & 5. They seem like small things, too, yet they are what God has given us to do :
Excel in a pure life (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). You will be an example to someone else. You’ll have credibility before your children and grandchildren when the time comes to encourage them to live pure lives. You’ll be ready to meet the Lord Jesus when He comes.
Excel in loving the church (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ; 1 Peter 1:22). Someone in the church needs your love. It doesn’t take much to share love – mostly just time and a little bit of thought.
Excel in understanding and anticipating the Lord’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11). Be ready. Pray ! Review in your mind what you believe about the Gospel and why you believe so you will be ready to share with someone in these last days.
Excel in a good attitude …
… toward people (1 Thessalonians 5:12-15) ;
… toward God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24).
“Excel still more !” (1 Thessalonians 4:1 ; 4:10, NASB).
One thing that tickled me last Sunday – but also drove home a good point – was when I asked you the question, “Why should we excel in loving people in the church ?” You gave good answers :
“Because God loves us.”
“Because we are all part of one Body.”
… and my favorite : “So we can have more friends.”
That’s a great, honest answer ! As we love others more, we will find we experience more the love of others. That’s what Simone has demonstrated to me and my family over the years. She is loved by so many because she loves so well. She loves so well because she knows the love of the Lord.
Other news from France
Many of you remember Vincent who visited Emmanuel from France three summers ago and helped with our Vacation Bible School as well as the VBS organized at Amazing Grace Evangelical Free Church in Cuba, Missouri. Vincent’s spiritual life has taken off, and he was recently baptized. If you want to watch some or all of his baptism, you can find it at this YouTube address :
Vincent credits, in part, his time spent here in Hermann with renewing his walk with the Lord.
What’s God doing in your life right now ? I’d love to hear about it !
See you Sunday !
I was excited to read the things Jeff wrote about this week in his midweek email that are going on at church. I encourage you to take advantage of the children’s and adult Sunday School classes being offered this spring on Sunday mornings at 9:00. Again, it may seem like a very small part of your Sunday or weekly routine, but those are the kinds of times – especially for our kids – that open up new vistas with the Lord. It’s easy to assume your children are just kind of “absorbing” spiritual things, or some day will make up their mind and start their own vibrant spiritual journey. Chances are that may not happen without parents and grandparents being intentional about it, both at home and at church. Come be supported and support others. Let’s excel still more !