we were to dwell on three things?
and advancing the kingdom of God.
I hope you will stay with me while I break these down.
I don’t even have to get out of bed for this first one. And yet, it’s often the first place I go during my GodTime. Dwelling on God’s ways brings me into His presence. Simply being grateful for the way He does things – the way life unfolds – the beauty of order and perfection – the knowledge that He hasn’t left me or forsaken me – not for one minute. That sort of dwelling. Selfishly, I tend to spend much of my time reflecting on His ways in my life – looking back and seeing his hand – oh how I love that. It’s one of those personal proofs for God’s existence. Remembering is one of the greatest gifts given to man – and it would be so satisfying to dwell there momentarily each and every day. I think it would change our attitude – change our countenance – change our nature – rejuvenate our mind … the benefits are endless.
I love thinking about eternity. I tend to make dates with friends to snow ski most afternoons in the new earth – it’s one of my favorite ways to picture eternity. However, I am sure that my own ponderings about heaven are not nearly as glorious as what it will truly be like. Saints – far more mature than I could ever hope to be – tell me this often, especially when I insist they ski with me at least every now and then.
But there’s something about setting your mind on things above that puts our earthly lives in a better light. So my head goes to questions such as:
What sorts of things could we do daily that would have eternal value?
I come up with one word: Kindness.
Practically speaking, wouldn’t it be great to write at least one encouraging note—everyday—in 2015? In this age of internet – this act of kindness is practically effortless!
And last, Advancing the kingdom.
I love the notion of advancing the kingdom – I also love knowing that God delights in using his daughters to do it. Not that he doesn’t delight also in his sons – but I think some women have a mentality that God uses the men for the big stuff – and us women just get to clean and cook so as to free up our men to do the really important things. With all the modern conveniences this world affords to middle aged women with no children, cooking and cleaning can be done in a fraction of the time compared with just a few decades ago. Microwaves, restaurants, freezers, wrinkle-free shirts … these are a few of my favorite things. Because! they free us women up to advance the kingdom. Kingdom advancing activities are limitless.
When I think about such things, my head always goes back to my twenties when I asked the Lord to use me.
Here’s the story:
One week, while working on staff at Central Church in St. Louis, the Minister of Pastoral Care was on vacation. I forgot that little tidbit of information one morning as I asked the Lord to use me in his service. Of course I was thinking something big and important – something manly perhaps – just kidding – sorta – but anyway, Don Fortson, Sr. was on vacation.
Now, I, as the Assistant to the Pastors, received all of Don’s calls that week.
Can I just tell you, this was not the week I had in mind when I asked God to use me.
The kingdom advancing activities he called me to didn’t feel very kingdom advancing. The first activity I was called to was taking cookies to an elderly shut-in man. His name was Clyde and surely he is in eternity now. He called the church – as a parishioner in good standing – and wanted the pastoral care minister to bring him cookies. So I did. He was grateful and kind. I hope to look him up in eternity.
Then there was Joy. She was not a parishioner – but she lived a couple blocks from the church and called asking if someone could take her to pay her light bill and buy a refrigerator. Joy and I had a yearlong relationship of carting her around St. Louis. I still snicker as I recall her squeezing out the door of her apartment so as not to let me see anything inside. I still wonder what was in there.
And then the last gift that week was Cindy. Her mother called our church telling us that Cindy was on her way to St. Louis to attend Washington University – a California girl with enough money, so it seemed, to fly here but with little else. She had no place to stay, no transportation and knew no one. Cindy was delightful. The Lord was very very good to her and we found her a place in a Campus Crusade dorm near Wash U that was perfect. I sure hope she is advancing the kingdom and remembering how lavish God was to her 27 years ago.
I’ve said it before, but it is worth mentioning again. We never know how the Lord is going to use us to advance his kingdom. But I think he uses us in ways that mature our godly character – and make us look more like Jesus.
So these are the three things I wish for myself and my sisters this new year – dwelling and lingering in places that are far too wonderful to comprehend. Never forget this one thing dear friends, He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. So let’s get asking! (cf. Ephesians 3:20)