I trust everyone had a great Easter with family, friends, neighbors, and "All ya'll" (as we Southerners tend to say) with fellowship, food, and festivities. I was a bit dismayed when I found out a few stores were open on Easter Sunday. I remember back in the day when I was in retail and could count on three days of rest... Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I am sure many of you can say, "I remember back in the day when stores were closed by 6 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, closed on Wednesday and Saturday at noon, and closed all day Sunday!"
I remember those times as a young child, but I wonder what the legacy we are leaving for our descendants with our 24/7/365 retail desire? For many years, I am sure elders have been commenting on how we are squeezing God right out of our lives as we find more and more things to occupy our time apart from Him. Christ died for us. Christ lay dead in a tomb. On the third day, Christ rose to defeat death. Can we as a human race not stop for eight hours (that represents a normal workday) to turn our eyes upon Him?
If we must work all the time, how about a compromise? Spend more time working on invitations and testimony. I am sure God would not mind us all doing a little work in that regard. Whatever you decide, please invite someone to worship with you and then truly take time to make time to have God time. We will never be able to buy God time in any store, regardless of operating hours, web presence, or phone order service... Ouch!
Last week, I was in the downtown area as I took a colleague to lunch. As we were approaching my truck to head back to the office, I saw a serviceman in BDUs, along with his civilian wife, and their baby. I approached the man, extended my hand, and said, “God bless you for being in the military and keeping us free” to which he smiled and replied, “Thank you and bless you.” As I got into my truck and felt good about making a soldier smile, I was suddenly overtaken with guilt and shame, as I realized I did not say anything to his wife. I should have extended a blessing to her for having the faith it must take to be a military spouse. I so much wish I could run into this couple again so I could extend a blessing to her as well. I will chalk it up to a lesson learned, rather than cry over spilt milk.
So, I must ask… how many times have you wished you would have spoken to someone to extend a blessing or an invitation? It really gets you ‘right there’ if you know what I mean. What if we (as individuals) were the one that was there when our spouse or companion received a verbal blessing but yet we did not? What if you were the person that was next to someone receiving an invitation, but yet you did not receive one?
This week, please extend a blessing to all you meet—and the spouse that stands beside the person. Tell everyone the Good News; leaving no one out. Together we will increase the fold! As you may well know, this Sunday is the best time to invite someone. After all, it was an Easter Sunday years ago when the parents of a first year preschooler came to STUMC and has been a part of the Family ever since!
In my most recent travels, I noticed many changes in the landscape of farms. Some forests have been cleared while some crop fields appear to be repurposed as new forests. Now, even though I grew up in the country, and grew up on a ‘farm’ we did not conduct full-on ‘farming’ as our neighbors did so I do not understand all the whys and how comes of land usage. Besides that small point, I want to highlight the new forest areas.
I remember noticing trees when I was a child passenger in the family car as traveled from point A to point B. The trees seemed to magically line up as we sped by. That is, the trees lined up as we approached (from a 45 degree angle relevant to the road); yet the trees lined up as I looked directly down each row (from a 90 degree angle relevant to the road) and somehow they still lined up as I would look back at the trees (from a 135 degree angle relevant to the road). How could this be? In more recent years I notices forests that appeared to have been planted such that they only line up when viewed directly down the rows (from a 90 degree angle relevant to the road). The forests planted in this manner really bother me…
Well, as I grew up, I realized the trees all lined up due to careful planning and planting the trees in what I imagined was a square pattern of dots. Now, I am sure while GPS technology is utilized in the planning and planting of today’s forests, I am sure good old line of sight and surveying was use to perform the same tasks back in the day. So, what has this to do with our Walk? Much, my friends…
Do we line up with His plan from all angles, or do we only line up from a single angle? Let us make sure we are fully in line with His plan in every way possible. Use this week to reach out to a ‘seedling’ and help them to grow as part of the ‘forest’ so they too will be in line with His plan.