I am writing this post late Saturday evening. As I have been thinking about the activities of today, and trying to come up with a title for this post, the word that keeps popping into my head is “Overflowing”. I wanted to share some of the things that God taught me today, some of the ways that God used me today, some of the ways that God used other people in my life today… but, I realize that there are some things that I just cannot share. In some ways, sharing these things would cheapen them… or else the telling itself would somehow lessen the reality. So, as you read through this post, please understand that you are not hearing the entire story. I am not going to tell you about all the prayers that have been prayed previously and answered today, or the conversations that have previously taken place, or the concerns that have been voiced in past days. Instead, I want to share a small part of why the only word that I can think of to describe today is “Overflowing”.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Cindy (from “The Adventures of MaÃ«l & Cindy“) met a lady who was moving to Wake Forest, NC. This lady – a stranger to Cindy – mentioned that she could use some help moving. Cindy told some of her friends about this opportunity to serve a stranger. So today – moving day – several of us helped a stranger move into her new house. I couldn’t help thinking about how God has been teaching me about hospitality and “loving strangers”. In fact, it turns out that another church of a different denomination also helped the lady move. The lady said that she wanted to invite us all to dinner some time in the future. Wouldn’t it be like God to use a stranger to bring together two churches from two denominations at the same table?
When I returned home from helping this family move, I heard some very encouraging news. My son is an assistant coach for a five year old soccer team. His job is to let the boys and girls chase him around the field during practice without stealing the ball from him. Apparently, today the coach honored my son because of his attitude and service to the team. I couldn’t help but think back to our conversation last week about what God is doing in our lives. If you remember, my son said that God was teaching him how to help and care about people in need.
Later that morning, we rode to Dave and Becky Lynn Black’s farm (from “Dave Black Online“) for his “Student Day”. I was expecting to have some good food and good times at the farm. I was not expecting the tremendous fellowship that our family shared with another couple during the ride to and from the farm. My son and daughter look up to this young man and woman, and we are excited about the time that we were able to spend with them.
When we got to the farm – a little late, but just in time to eat – we heard Mrs. Black talk about missions. I was not expecting to learn more about being missional today. She talked about Moses and how he had to lay everything at the Lord’s feet – even his staff – before God could use him. She also talked about “the greatest missionary” – Jesus Christ. Perhaps, if we want to know what it means to be a missionary, or what it means to be missional, we should look no further than Jesus himself.
Also at the farm, I was not expecting to meet a family who plans to move into our neighborhood next week. This was a very special surprise, because they have a son just one year older than my son. It has been difficult for my son to make friends in our neighborhood for various reasons, and we were excited to hear this news. In fact, when we met this couple and heard that they plan to move into our neighborhood, our two sons were throwing a frisbee around the yard. They had already met one another.
On the way home, I was not expecting to get a call from a good friend saying that his grandfather had taken a turn for the worse. The couple who road with us to the Black’s farm asked if our children could stay with them while we went to the hospital. Because of their generosity and concern, we were able to spend some time with our friend whose grandfather was in ICU. We pray that we were a comfort and encouragement to them.
Now, as I look back over today – and this entire week – I am also thinking about tomorrow. You see, tomorrow I am planning to teach from Titus 2 –
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV)
Today, and this week, God has revealed his grace to teach me how to live for today. Jesus gave himself to redeem me and purify me so that I could be zealous for good works. I wonder what has prepared me most to teach this Scripture: the time I spent studying the words of the text, or the time I spent living the words of the text. I believe God has used both in my life. I pray that he will continue to give me grace that teaches me how to live. And, as I learn to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, I know that Jesus will continue to overflow through me as I live.