Making Every Day Count
The most valuable lessons I’ve learned about God’s heart came through observations of my mom’s life. Not only by her words, but through her lifestyle, character, and actions, God taught me to make every day count. The following verse sums it all up.
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (I Corinthians 15:58 NLT)
We had a family business that began in very humble beginnings. My dad, a butcher like his father, bought the meat market from my grandpa and turned it into a restaurant that continually grew with his ingenious creativity. Both my parents were very hard workers. While my dad worked such long hours that we seldom saw him at home, my mom taught elementary school.
So that we could have a family meal together at least a couple times a week, my mom would drive my brother and me to the restaurant for supper—otherwise known as “dinner” beyond Texas. She would surprise us in that cheerful voice, “Want to go have supper with Dad tonight?” We always got so excited; after all, it was quite a scenic trip to pass over Galveston Bay, which looked like a vast ocean to us! Little did we know what a sacrifice that hour drive was for her after her long work day, because she did it with such joy. In fact, we never knew the many other sacrifices she made for us until it was a reflection of past history.
Once we got there, I had a special window into God’s view. People were drawn to my mother—not only as the owner’s wife; but her effervescent joy expressed the love in her heart for people. Her gentle, warm and tenderhearted style mirrored the ways of Jesus. Consistently, I observed her treating people as if they mattered greatly to her, since they certainly did to God (Matthew 25:34-40).
Fast forward to Dad’s diagnosis of cancer, hastening his death six weeks later, Mom was thrust into grief’s shocking blow and the sudden role of managing the business. Instead of revolting at the abrupt shift from teaching children to managing a restaurant, her attitude was saturated with God’s grace. People were watching closely. Would her reputation crumble?
Whereas I know for a fact that she had led some of the waitresses to the Lord when Dad was still alive, even more opportunities abounded for her to share Jesus with those who were drawn to her when her time of suffering and hardship intensified. Why? Because instead of getting bitter, she got better. People knew what a significant loss and major adjustment it was for her. Yet, they saw the light of Jesus even brighter through the peace she maintained in the midst of her pain.
It was not until the last decade of her life that she became a ministry leader, insofar as having an official title. From God’s viewpoint, however, her “ministry” actually began all those years ago when she was simply living like Jesus in the sacrifices of motherhood, teaching, and showing God’s love to everyone she encountered. All the lives she influenced for God’s kingdom in those earlier years calculated as great wealth in God’s economy. (Hebrews 6:10-12)
Be encouraged, no matter your role in life, living like Jesus is what counts in God’s eyes; no act of kindness goes unnoticed by Him. It’s in the daily ways of touching someone’s life with the love of God that amounts to great worth in heaven!
Patiently Bearing Fruit
“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” – Luke 8:15
The parable of the sower is told in three of the Gospels. Each of these accounts explains why we must sow seeds to reap a harvest, but only Luke uses the phrase “bear fruit with patience.” As his account reminds us, “patience” is important to bearing fruit.
Jesus said that seeds that fall on “good ground” represent those people who, having heard the word, keep it. They know the Word. They don’t just talk about it or believe it. They act on it and put it into practice. They get results! They “bear fruit with patience.”
As this verse makes clear, to receive the fruit, we must be patient and remember that fruit can take time to grow. We cannot give up or be discouraged when we don’t see immediate results.
If you want to experience God’s richest blessings, remember the importance of “patience.” You must do your part. Be faithful. But you also must trust God through every situation and not give up. God will reward you if you keep sowing seeds into good ground, boldly believing in Him, and persisting in every situation.
Ask God to help you continue to believe His promises and put them into practice. Be steadfast in every situation. Do not waver from your commitment to God and the Gospel. Be faithful and don’t give up. Declare God’s Word to be true, and continue to be steadfast and patient.
Reflection Question: What harvest are you patiently waiting to harvest? Have you sown seeds?
Streams in the Desert – September 6
- 20226 Sep
Thou remainest (Heb. 1:11).
There are always lone hearth-fires; so many! And those who sit beside them, with the empty chair, cannot restrain the tears that will come. One sits alone so much. There is some One unseen, just here within reach. But somehow we don’t realize His presence. Realizing is blessed, but–rare. It belongs to the mood, to the feelings. It is dependent on weather conditions and bodily conditions. The rain, the heavy fog outside, the poor sleep, the twinging pain, these make one’s mood so much, they seem to blur out the realizing.
But there is something a little higher up than realizing. It is yet more blessed. It is independent of these outer conditions, it is something that abides. It is this: recognizing that Presence unseen, so wondrous and quieting, so soothing and calming and warming. Recognize His presence–the Master’s own. He is here, close by; His presence is real. Recognizing will help realizing, too, but it never depends on it.
Aye, more, immensely more, the Truth is a Presence, not a thing, a fact, a statement. Some One is present, a warm-hearted Friend, an all-powerful Lord. And this is the joyful truth for weeping hearts everywhere, whatever be the hand that has drawn the tears; by whatever stream it be that your weeping willow is planted.
–S. D. Gordon
When from my life the old-time joys have vanished,
Treasures once mine, I may no longer claim,
This truth may feed my hungry heart, and famished:
Lord, THOU REMAINEST THOU art still the same!
Nehemiah 7:2 2I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.
Once the walls were completed and the gates hung, the enemies of Israel became discouraged because they realized the work was done with the help of God (6:16). There were still spies within the city who regularly informed the enemies as to what was taking place. These enemies sent letters to Nehemiah to intimidate him, but now the walls are up and so is Israel’s confidence in the help of their God.
Nehemiah assigned his brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, to oversee the city. He was chosen was because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do. Do you know someone like that? They are careful to obey the law even in areas most people consider unimportant. They are quick to make any offense right with others. They spend time in the Word, but are humble about their knowledge of it. They fear God more than most men do. If you need someone to be trusted in situations most might compromise, you would want this person. You know they won’t compromise, for they fear God more than most men do.
And how about you? Do you fear God more than most? Are you a person of integrity because you know the justice of God, that it is not possible to do wrong and escape His justice in the consequences for evil? You know your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, but is your sense of His justice still a motivating factor in your life? The Apostle Paul asked if we should sin that grace would look more wonderful by contrast. Of course not! (Romans 6:1,2) Sin still has consequences in this life and God still disciplines the children that He loves.
Remember: A person of great integrity fears God more than most men do.