Obviously, over the past week, a lot of things have been on our mind. With Thanksgiving, there came thoughts of food, what we were thankful for, food, fellowship with friends and family, food, etc.; with Black Friday and the upcoming Christmas, there came, well, materialism. (and lights. And really great songs on the radio). I choose to zoom in on just one of these: namely thankfulness, or the lack thereof.
On Thanksgiving, as per our tradition, we went around the table, (us and the fifty odd people that were there) and said exactly what we were thankful for. I usually participate in this blessed time, but I guess I was too laid back this year. My dad asked me if I wanted to say anything, but I kinda brushed it off. But a brother of mine, who was sitting across from me, asked a simple question that shook me to the core. “Do you think you should?” it sounds simple enough, but it started me thinking. When he asked that question, I saw that one of the things I am, or should be, thankful for most, is having Brothers and Sisters around me at home and at Church who love Christ and who I can expect to held me accountable. But I sometimes miss that.
If someone were to ask me what people influenced me most by there life and testimony, and their love of Christ to the last, I would say: George Muller, A.W. Tozer, Jim Elliot, and Amber Mathenia. Of these four, I had the immense blessing of knowing one personally.
But, to tell you the truth, I didn’t know her well enough. It still amazes me of how little value we put on the time we have with people. This issue has been burdening my heart for a while, but I’m not posting because I finally started to score points on it. Quite the opposite. I slip up as much as anyone else, and more than most, on how well I value people and the time I have with them. Our life is but a vapour. We have only so long to share the love of Christ. But then, the same could be said of those around us. We have only a short time to share the love of Jesus with each of them, before they are gone from before us, whether the Lord has taken them home, or they’ve just, well, moved. Gone to college. Transferred to another Job. Whatever it may be. And I am not just talking about having deep, theological discussion with people. I mean just knowing them. Loving them. Being there for them, if they need you, before it’s too late.
That’s one of the things that still amazes about Ms. Amber’s life. She was dear to everyone that knew her. And she wasn’t the sort who tries to start a conversation, but you feel awkward. When you were talking to her, you almost sense that she really cared. Or, that she cared for you because she cared for Christ. I was amazed when I went to Ethiopia, and found what fond memories of her many still treasure. And I understood from my own experience. She was one of the first to speak to me about the things of Christ after I had given my testimony. That was how I knew her, till the Lord saw fit to take her home.
Not enough people know the value of every second they have around their fellow pilgrims. I know I don’t. we need to see its important, especially in a Church or family, to make sure we know people. We need to get past being content to have our little knot of friends, and never going beyond them. I think having certain people whom you like and enjoy being around is a natural thing. But you aren’t always with them. If there is someone that you are around a lot, you can’t be content to say, “I didn’t know them very well.”
I hate to get personal where the whole world can see, but I should apologize to those readers of this blog with whom I come into contact on a regular basis. I should make more use of the short time that I have. I’m the sort who feels awkward around people who aren’t the people I am magnetized to every time I see them. But I need to realize that every second I have with you is a gift from God. As is every second any of us have with any one.
We young people especially should see the value of our youth, and the time that God has given us with older believers. We are to learn from them. We should be able to listen to them as they tell of the goodness of Christ in their life. Because they won’t always be here, and whatever place they leave, we will, eventually, have to fill. Would it not be a shame if we weren’t prepared before-hand?
1 Peter 4:7-10