The greatest earthly asset any pastor can have is a wife who loves God, loves him and supports his ministry. I know because I enjoy this blessing. My wife, Gayle, weekly serves God and serves our church and Christian school.
Recently, she was asked to share two minutes of wisdom with our graduating seniors in chapel. I watched her all week ponder her words and seek to know just what to say. As the time approached for her to deliver her speech, she began to write. I would like to share a portion of that work with you this week:
Carolyn Wells said, "Advice is one of those things it is far more blessed to give than to receive." Agatha Christie said, "Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that is no reason not to give it." Advice is not always welcomed. However, as Mrs. Christie stated, that is no reason not to give it. Everyone likes to share their nugget of truth or conquered experience. And our society has grown to the place where we seek advice from many different sources. However, we are moving away from seeking wisdom and guidance from the source of all truth - God and His Word.
The words we and our nation need to hear today and everyday are not the words of mortal man, but the words of Holy God. We live in a land where we have been blessed with much freedom. We can gather to worship and freely speak of our love for God and His Word. Let's not let our freedom and easy access cause us to turn from the truth that is available.
Psalm 139 states that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by a God who wants to give us what we desire, which Proverbs 19:22 tells us is unfailing love.
In Jeremiah 31:3, God tells His children that He loves us with "an everlasting love" and that He "knows the plans He has for us, plans for welfare and not calamity, to give us a future and a hope." God loves us perfectly and eternally and has wonderful gifts to share with those who trust Him.
Hebrews 11:6 informs us that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
What are "these things" that Matthew wrote about? When we are lonely and seeking, God invites us in Jeremiah 33:3 to "call" to Him and He will "answer us and show us great and mighty things which we do not know."
When we fail, Romans 8:1 teaches us that "There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 states that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
When we are afraid, one of "these things" is found in I Peter 5:7. Which says, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
When life and circumstances are intimidating, remember what God said in Jeremiah 1:8: "Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you." Psalm 34:4-7 says, "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them."
When we feel we do not have enough, remember that God is our provider. Luke 6:38 instructs us to "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
And finally, we should remember the words that Stephen Olford's father shared with him. "Only one life, twill soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last." As we live each day, let's embrace the truth of God's word and live as if this was our last chance to tell the world that Jesus is the answer.
The Rev. Chris Reynolds is pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Christian Academy in Jonesboro.