After tiptoeing into our bedroom this morning, I sat quietly on the floor next to the bed and admired the peaceful look that my wife had upon her face. To me it was an outward expression of the life of God that is pulsating through her body. It was another confirmation of the work that His Word is doing inside of her. Then in response to the idea of the light of His Word working in her, I leaned over and cracked open the blinds in order to shed some daylight on my favorite subject!
The brightness of the rays of the sunlight peeking over the trees behind our apartment and shining into our room made me consider how God loves to bring us revelation or “light” on the situations and subjects of our lives. It made me recall a ray of light that He had shined on me yesterday morning as I flipped through a magazine. I had sat down for a moment and absent mindedly picked up the current copy of Southern Living Magazine.
According to the cover picture and advertising this was their annual Thanksgiving edition. As I leafed through the pages my attention was captured by a photograph of an elegantly set dining room table. That picture sent me off down memory lane as I recalled the holiday feasts that were set by both my Mother and Grandmother. And with it came all the warm thoughts of the outrageously delicious Italian accented feasts, fun and fellowship with the family, and the sense of contentment that went along with the event!
I also recalled the many holiday meals that Piper and I celebrated with her family at our house over the years. Piper always enjoyed cooking and we both enjoyed entertaining the family so it seemed natural for their family to come to our place for the majority of the holiday dinners. And even though it was a lot of work, it was fun and gave us and the kids the opportunity to work together for the common goal of being a blessing to others… besides, it also helped us to give the house a good cleaning before everyone came over!
The recollection of those good times also caused me to receive some startling light on our present and future. With both my grandparents and parents gone, that picture served to remind me of their final days on this earth. Two of my favorite people were my maternal grandfather and my mom. They had similar personalities that were outgoing, joyful, and always encouraging. My mom once complemented me by saying that I definitely reminded her of her dad.
One thing that really bothered me at each of their passings was that they seemed to have changed during the last week or two of their lives. Their usual mark of joy and encouragement led by an attitude that would uplift anyone in their presence was overrun with a bit of anger, a denial of their current place in life, and an overwhelming withdrawal into the past. And as I thought on this, I realized that my in-laws have been heading down the same path for many years now as well.
When I stood up from that chair it suddenly hit me like a brick that “I don’t want my wife and I to end up the same way!” I desire our lives in this chapter of our existence on earth to be a blessing to ourselves and others and not a burden. After spending time with us, I want people to leave feeling full of joy and peace. How about you? Just as my wife had always prayed over the houses we lived in to be places of joy and peace, I desire the houses of our physical beings to be the same to others up until the day we move on to God’s kingdom and the next assignment He has for us there!
I think that the Lord wanted to confirm this idea in me again this morning as He led me to John 10:10 where Jesus stated that, “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life – Life in all its fullness.” (Good News Bible) The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary further define Jesus’ intent in this verse stating that He came “not merely to preserve but IMPART life, and communicate it in rich and unfailing Exuberance.”
That is what I want people to say after they have been around us! I want to know that Piper and I have definitely left His mark in us on them. That they walk away from our presence feeling encouraged, uplifted, with a spark of joy and a Godly contentment that fills their entire being… Kind of like I used to feel after Thanksgiving dinner as a kid.
Piper and I had the pleasure of getting to know and minister to an older couple that had been with us in two of the churches we helped to pioneer over the years. We had the honor of being able to love on them and bless them just a few days before they went on to be with the Lord… if I remember correctly they went on within a few days of each other. And that last time we were with them was JUST LIKE all the other times we had been in their house. I am not sure who was blessed more, them or us. Up to and including their final days, they were full of the joy of the Lord, were very exuberant with the personal experiential knowledge of His love and always seemed to have just the right word from Him to bless us with!
I always told Piper that this is how I want to be in our older years… and the reality hit me yesterday that NOW is the time for me to assure that this happens in my life! Now is the time to make sure that my life stays outside focused instead of withdrawn and all about me. My aim is to impact others with the Zoë life of God… Now more than ever before! Would you agree on that for yourself? Have a wonderful day. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to IMPART LIFE TO today?”