My wife and I have always been hands-on type of people. From the early days of our relationship we have been involved in leadership roles that began in high school! I would think that we strengthen each other’s weaknesses, build and encourage each other and have always tended to follow the saying: “God said it, I believe it… so let’s do it!”
We’ve also always been Word people. I remember when Piper gave me a paperback Good News Bible not long after we started dating. I came from a long line of active Catholics and we had a Bible that a fellow teacher had given my Dad a few years earlier, but it usually just sat on a table in the living room. For some reason, that little grey covered book that Piper gave me was different to me. Maybe it was because she gave it to me, or that it meant so much to her. Either way, it definitely caught my interest and even though I didn’t really understand too much of it at that time, I wanted to read it and find out more of what it said.
By the time we got married some five years later, I had a greater understanding of the book, had gotten my own new hardback New American Standard Version that I had underlined meaningful verses in, had attended numerous Bible Study groups with my gal at College and was becoming a fixture at her American Baptist Church back home! Once married, we were eager to “try our faith out” and looked for opportunities in which to trust the Lord and His Word in our new life together.
We were a couple of hungry kids that desired to learn and do all we could for Him. After a while we found ourselves dreaming about a new car and decided to “go for it” and pointed our faith toward a new 1977 Datsun 280Z. Since we figured that most people would think we were crazy to be going for such a big item at that time, we decided to keep our project fairly quiet.
Well, if you’ve followed this blog you’ll know that we came home one day that summer with a brand spanking new, five speed, Pacific Blue 280Z with white leather seats, mag wheels, louvers on the back window and very excited and thankful hearts!
It is interesting to note that I had quit my job at Sears a few months previous to that purchase and was just starting out on my own as a photographer, so our income wasn’t exactly steady at that time. Piper was working at a Christian Pre-School and I was receiving a small salary for my work as Youth Minister at the church. Purchasing this vehicle was definitely a stretch, but we felt confident in our faith in God’s Word. We ended up making double payments on that car and paid it off early!
After that experience, we just sort of never looked back and always tended to believe that if God’s Word said it, that we would believe it, take Him at His Word and step out in faith as needs, opportunities and other faith adventures presented themselves. And that is the way we have lived our life over these past 40 years of marriage.
Colossians 3:2 in the Message Bible backs this type of faith. Here the Apostle Paul encourages his audience to “Pursue the things over which Christ presides…” Dictionary.com defines “pursue” as “to follow close upon; to go with; to attend to, to strive to gain, attain or accomplish.” I take that meaning as a challenge like the old 1960’s commercial used to say and “go for the gusto” in life. For us it meant to live life with a passion for the things of God.
Piper and I would hear testimonies of people who successfully stepped out in faith to follow a call or accomplish a burning desire in their hearts and thought, “If they can do it, why can’t we?” “If God’s Word worked for them, it will work for us too!” We decided early on that we desired God’s best for us and wanted to be the best we could be for Him. Over the years we’ve had our share of those who vehemently disagreed with us (many times it was the same folks!), but we usually had done our homework, checked out the natural facts, built up our faith in His Word and then followed our hearts in line with His directions for us.
Today I see much of that same confidence, excitement and fire in our kids. We may not have always done everything right, but we did train them by precept and example to not be afraid to follow the leadings of the Lord in their lives. That freedom, faith, trust and knowledge of His love for us is what makes life exciting to me. Even with the physical difficulties that my wife and I face today, we have an excitement and certain expectation of His Word having the final and definitive say in our future!
How about you? Can you say the same thing? Are you actively pursuing the things over which Christ presides? Are you living your life with Gusto? I believe that this is the way that He wants us to experience everyday of our lives… even during the difficult seasons we encounter. So dig into His Word, find out what He has especially for you and step out into the exciting and expectant place of faith to receive His best for you!
Have a great and exciting week. Take the time to find out what His Word says about you, stay in tune to it and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s kind of GUSTO am I expecting to live today?”