|Volume 19 Number 10 October 2017||
Flashes of memories sometimes go through my head. For some reason, I only remember a few things about when I was little. One memory I have is that of going around with my grandfather when I was very small. He was a Life of Georgia insurance man. I remember going with him in his big car and waiting as he went to the doors of his clients to collect their premiums. One day, he got out and told me not to open the door of the car. I sat there, and of course being 5-years-old, I thought that he had been gone forever and that something was wrong. I wanted to go find him. I knew, however, that he had said that I was not to open the car door. So, I rolled the window down and climbed out.
Most of you won’t remember when cars had handles like this one did (it was in the early ‘60s), but somehow I got my belt caught on that door handle, and I hung there for what seemed to me like an eternity. I dangled there just imagining all the bad things that were going to happen to me when my grandfather came back. What worried me more than any kind of punishment, though, was I just knew that he would cancel our stop at Price’s Donuts. We always stopped there, and I would get a chocolate donut and a glass of chocolate milk.
When my grandfather came back, he found me hanging on the door handle. He said, as he got me untangled and back into the car, “Well, you didn’t open the door, did you.” He did go ahead and take me to Price’s for my donut and milk. I think that he thought that my hanging there had been punishment enough, and technically, I had not disobeyed him.
Now, being the preacher that I am, let me draw some lessons from this event.
1. The greatest blessings we can have and that we love are often the little things which become precious memories. My grandfather died while I was away on a mission trip to Canada. I did not get to attend his funeral. Yet, the memories of Price’s Donuts and other equally small things live on after all these years. I never get a donut today that I don’t think about those days when I was so little. I hope I can build memories with my grandchild that will equal those.
2. Too often, we want to find some way to circumvent the spirit of the laws of God. Even at 5-years-old, I really knew what my grandfather meant when he said don’t open the car door. However, I used the technical statement to justify myself in doing what I really knew he did not want me to do. I am afraid that all too often in our lives, we find ourselves “hanging on the car door handle” because we have justified in our minds doing what God does not approve. The problem is that those decisions can lead to losing our souls.
3. We are also, way too often, impatient with those in authority, in particular with God. My impatience got me stuck hanging on a car door. I remember about the same time period that I went to school at Capitol Heights elementary in Montgomery in the first grade. I remember that I was supposed to wait for my mother to come and get me. The school (which does not exist anymore) was only three or four blocks from my grandparent’s house. Now, my daughter lives just a few blocks away from where this took place.
On at least one occasion, I remember looking for my mother, and not seeing her, and after waiting what seemed an unbelievably long time (probably 5 minutes), I took off, just sure I could find my way. Of course, I didn’t, and fortunately, it was the early ‘60s and not as dangerous as it is now. We are too often in such a hurry, and we think that we know the way. Then, we wind up lost and wandering the streets of Capitol Heights or hanging on a door handle. Instead, a little patience and a recognition of our need for guidance would have kept us safe. We must learn to “wait on the Lord,” and we must follow His guidance in our daily lives. Then, and only then, will we be truly safe.
Thanks for your patience with my ramblings. I hope you enjoy some “chocolate donuts and chocolate milk” or something like them with someone you love today. Please, wait on the Lord, and seek His guidance in your life through His divine Word, today.
Going, Going On
My bags are packed and my passport is in my hand. I am going to a foreign land to teach the Word of God. I get into my car to drive to the airport with nothing else on my mind. As I am backing out of my driveway I see my neighbor. I do not know his name, but I wave politely and head on my way. I am going to a foreign land to teach the Word of God. As I am driving down the road, I see a homeless man standing on the corner begging for food or any kind of assistance. My flight is scheduled to leave in two hours. I have to get to the airport. I try not to make eye contact with the man and continue to head on my way. I am going to a foreign land to teach the Word of God.
I arrive at the airport with time to spare and check in for my flight. After I have gone through security, I head to the nearest coffee shop to enjoy my $5 cup of coffee. I just want to sit in quiet for a few minutes before my flight begins to board. A woman is sitting next to me that is obviously having a bad day. She is sitting alone with tears in her eyes. Not wanting to be bothered or dragged into her situation, I pick up my coffee and head to my gate, hoping to find a place to sit while waiting for my flight to board. I am going to a foreign land to teach the Word of God.
I finally arrive at my destination and begin teaching right away. House to house and door to door I teach about Jesus and how He saves. I have so much energy from teaching that even when I am tired I keep on going down the road for there are souls to save. I return to the states with pride in my heart. A good work has been done and many have obeyed. I get in my car and head back home. Wow! What a great day! I see my neighbor checking his mail and again I politely wave. I go inside and put my bags away. “I can’t wait till next year,” I think. Week and weeks go by and I am still talking about my trip. I went to a foreign land to teach the Word of God.
Based on Matthew 28:19-20, we know that God has sent us all into the world to teach the Gospel, to seek and lead the lost to salvation. That is our mission. Teaching the Gospel is not just from a pulpit. It is not just in the classroom. It is not just on a “mission trip.” We as Christians have been sent on a mission. The mission is our purpose. We are here to serve God and to be His workmanship. We do not just go on mission trips. We should always be about the mission.
[Editor’s Note: One’s mission lies on both sides of the threshold to his or her home. Family is one’s first mission opportunity. In addition, anyone, near or far, provides one’s second mission opportunity. All the world begins on either side of the threshold to our homes (Mark 16:15-16).]