“Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too. 2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else. 5 For each one will carry his own load. 6 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it. 7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, 8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.” Galatians 6:1-10.
Sometimes life becomes emotionally difficult and the Believer begins to understand that God must be in control. If He is NOT, everything may be too difficult. When difficulty comes the Christ-follower must continue to stay the course on the narrow path that has been designated by the Lord who calls. Paul also writes, “I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction. 3 For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. 4 And they will turn away from hearing the truth, but on the other hand they will turn aside to myths. 5 You, however, be self-controlled in all things, endure hardship, do an evangelist’s work, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as an offering, and the time for me to depart is at hand. 7 I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! 8 Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:1-8.
Reading from the Apostle we discover something very, very important about living faith in Jesus Christ and that is endurance in not growing weary in that which God has instructed. Recalling faithful men and women who have preceded me in ministry and in death as Believers there is a common denominator to be found in each one: the ability to remain focused upon for cross, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.” Romans 1:16-17.
Seven decades God has given me opportunity after opportunity to follow His call. And what I have learned is simple, we must accomplish what He has called us to do in the time He has allowed. I have no statistics in front of me, but many have not had 7 decades, but I have known a few who have died very young and others did not until well into their 90’s. God has, indeed, blessed me. And like Paul, I have made the best of those opportunities to share the Message of Christ of countless numbers of people; some in very remote places and in difficult places, and some of those encounters were places not so difficult nor remote. Oh, and there have been some terrible mistakes that I have made along the way, too, and I fear that I was not as faithful as I may have been in some of those places. However, God has continued to encourage me to stay the course and He has remained faithful to not simply encourage me, but to empower and protect me along the way.
While I have written these words about me and have found strength from the Word of God, I would encourage everyone who may read these words to honestly reflect upon what the Father has accomplished through you because you have been His instrument along life’s way.
Jesus is Lord!!