A father walking his two small children into church at 8:00 a.m., hand in hand. A mother gathering snacks, bottles, and the kitchen sink to load up the diaper bags. Two parents, one getting strollers and bibles in the car. The other getting jackets on the littlest ones while the 7 and 9 year olds finish that last bite of breakfast and join the mad dash to get in the car.
A family scurrying around church campus getting to their classes. Some together. Some scattering. A husband and wife, joining hands to hold a hymnal, then corporate prayer. A child a little too fidgety as the pastor brings the Word. A loving father gently putting a hand on his knee, without a word teaching reverence. A mother handing a crayon to her 5 year old daughter who takes her own kind of notes about the truth being proclaimed. A crying baby, again, that causes mom to exit worship and attend to his needs. A stubborn child that requires dad to step away from the preaching to administer correction. The shear joy of looking down the pew and seeing your wife and children fastened on the pastor, scribbling notes and flipping through their bibles.
Have you experienced any of these? Are you experiencing any of these? I’d like to turn our thoughts towards thankfulness in all of them. I’d like to turn any reading this away from frustration in the challenging ones. My goal is to cause you to look at the manifold blessings you’ve been given in this life and rejoice in them. To exult in the Sovereign King for allowing you to experience all of them. Because in an instant they can all be gone. Either by the speed of time.... You know, where you blink and exclaim, “where did the time go?!”, as you see your 21 year old child drive away from home. Or the speed in which health can take a drastic turn for the worst... Like when you hold your spouse’s hand in a hospital bed for the 15th time, wishing you had just one more day, one more year of youth and vitality. Hindsight is a good teacher. Scripture is a better teacher. God tells us to make the most of our time, not being foolish, to be careful about it, being wise (Eph 5:15-16). Now I know the context is Christians not walking in darkness, in the lusts of the flesh. Yet there is a principle in there we shouldn’t miss. To put it in my simpleminded vernacular, don’t be an idiot wasting your time on unfruitful pursuits. Don't miss the blessing of normal. But rather, be purposeful in doing good, walking in righteousness, being thankful in ALL things. Because again, any or all of the routines of life could be gone. In. An. Instant. Some of the wisest words I ever heard were simple. They weren’t deep theology, although we desperately need deep theology. The friend that spoke them to me had no idea of the impact they would have on me. But they were spoken to a 30 year old kid so try as I might, I failed too often to remember and heed them. Oh, they’ve often been my intention and even practice but still, failure. These were spoken by a brother in Christ in the hall of a hospital as my second preemie child was born. “Don’t be in a hurry for anything. Before you know it they’ll be walking and then a teenager. Enjoy each moment. This is only a season.” That’s it! Pretty simple. Yet spoken by a friend 10 years my senior. He’d been there. He’d done that. Hmm, as I write this I just got a picture of holding my children’s hands, wife alongside, both of us a bit frazzled, arms full of bibles and notebooks, after four full hours as we walked down the wide concrete ramp from our church campus to the parking lot. Yep, 19 years. Snap! Gone! Here we are going on 2018. Be thankful.
Praise God, with all your heart!
Recognize His grace.
Fulfill your calling as a parent, a spouse.
Walk in wisdom.
Walk in the joy of the Lord.
And when tempted to miss the forest for the trees, smell the roses while you have health, the ability of your youth and the freedom to experience such things because one day you may be alone and wishing you could have it all over again to do better. So nothing really rich theologically here. No attempt to dig down into a text. Just some words from an old guy with less gas in his tank and miles on his road than days gone by. He must increase, Kevin