This morning we had visitors in church. They were young adults from Trinedad & Tabago playing in a steel drum band across the US to raise funds to furnish a home they built for about 30 young children whose lives during daylight hours may loosely resemble my own kids' school days. But whose lives at night turn nightmare as their parents choose lifestyles for them that make my stomach turn in on itself.
Their leader led us in our message, scheduled to be "Encouragement" in our multipart series. If I may, I would like to loosely summarize what this stout, leather-skinned, silver haired fireball had to share.
God loves to say nice things about His children.
David. God called him a man after His own heart.
No greater compliment.
John the Baptist. "I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist..." (Matthew 11:11)
Now, look to Judges 12:13-15. 'After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. Then Abdon son of Hillel died...'
Hey, Abdon! Are you satisfied riding on your donkey? Are you satisfied riding around on your donkey like your father did, like your sons do, as your grandchildren will? Are you satisfied, Abdon?
Our speaker's final words resembled these:
He was raised a Muslim. He met a missionary from the USA as a child. He converted to Christianity and absorbed every word of the Bible and the freedom God gives His children from sin by receiving Jesus into their hearts.
Traveling around the US over the past 6 weeks, his overwhelming observation has been that our level of Christianity has decreased.
Hey, Abdon! Are you satisfied? Are you satisfied riding around on your donkey? What did you do to allow God to praise you, the God who loves to say nice things about His children?
What are you doing to make sure that you don't lose your sons and daughters, when your sons and daughters are being lost at alarming rates?
Hey, Abdon. Are you satisfied riding around on your donkey?
Several weeks ago, I sat down and made a list specifying every. single. thing. I would need to do in the month of October to ensure that I would accomplish all I had on my plate in this month. I sat paralyzed one afternoon, unsure where to start in the myriad of things I needed to get started on. I spent one whole afternoon and wrote out a list 8 pages long with bullet points, open boxes to check, Roman numerals, etc. When I was done, Ithought to myself, "What does any of this have to do with glorifying God?"
I set about trying to figure out how I could demonstrate God as I went about the tasks requested of me in this life right now. I must say. I can't succinctly say that I have glorified God. Have I? Is there a way to glorify God by baking beans for the teachers hoedown country "Kick It Up" dinner during conference week? Is there a way to glorify God while teaching scrapbooking classes and stamp camps? Is there a way to glorify God while decorating pumpkins for school classrooms and photographing the festivities? Is there a way to glorify God by writing a blog post?
I guess I would have to say yes. Yes, there is. There is a way to glorify God by being Jesus on the Streets, which is what I encourage my children to do. But I think I am only at about a C grade. Maybe even a D. Because I do my fair share of teaching Jesus to my kids during normal every day tasks. But am I truly doing all I can and should be doing so that in my last days, God will look upon my life and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant?"
Or, will God look back on my life with me and summarize it by saying, "Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. Then Abdon son of Hillel died."
I think Abdon lived about a C grade life. Maybe even a D.
I think I can do better. I think I need to do better.