I'm actually sitting out on my back porch as I write this. I'll attempt to describe it to you. The air smells sweet; almost like honeysuckles. It's like I can taste the sugar in the warm breeze. It's 8:00, and the sun is still brilliant and bright up here in the North Country. It's beginning to make its way down to kiss the horizon Good Night, but for now, it bathes my neighborhood in a warm glow. All the trees, bushes, hedges, gardens, and grass in all my neighbors backyards are beaming green. The sunlight is piercing through the leaves, splashing colours all over the place. There's birds chirping from every direction, calmly and quietly. It's soothing. The heat from the sun is like a blanket of summer, but there's just a breath of warm wind that refreshes. It's one of those evenings where you just never want to go inside. It's one of those evenings where you just feel content. You feel at peace with the world and everything in it. Everything about this evening atmosphere makes me feel like this moment could last forever. It looks and feels like God is smiling.
And would you look at that- I've already written a paragraph. I've been typing leisurely with my eyes half closed, breathing the summer air slowly and deeply. Nothing is out of place. Everything is perfect. That is, until I look back down at my computer screen and see that sticky note telling me to finish my portfolio for Monday, study for my math test, review my lines for our High School Play, contact so-and-so, and practice dance. Life, eh?
It's so nice having just a day where nothing's happening. I can just sit back, work at my own pace, listen to music, relax in the sun, and do as I please. But let's get back to real life. Real life starts tomorrow. At 8:15 a.m., to be precise. I'll go work in Sunday School, I'll go to the work project I signed up for last week, I'll study like mad for my test on Monday, then I'll finish all my homework... hopefully before midnight. Life will get crazy, my schedule will be booked, and there will be no time for anything but school.
I get so angry with this way of living. If I focus on school, I slack off on my Bible Readings. If I spend more time with God, I have less time to study for school. If I study less, my grades lower. If my grades lower, I have to focus more on school. And on, and on, and on it goes. Oh, it gets more complicated than that, even. I have to take my jobs into account, my dance schedule, and of course, I want to save some time for friends. But when I focus on one aspect of my life, I take from another. It's a battle.
The thing is, I always tell myself that it will get better once I graduate. "Everything I want to do with my life, all my dreams and goals and passions, they can become a reality after grade 12. Evangelism, writing, speaking, witnessing, ministering, serving... I can really start doing those things once I graduate, because right now, school is taking over my life. It's hindering me and my potential to be God's servant. But once I'm out, then I can start following Jesus."
But what if I get married and have kids? That kind of slows things down. Maybe I'll start writing books and travelling once my kids are grown up. When they move out, then I'll start witnessing.
But what if I have a great job? What if I need money? Well, maybe I'll start serving God once I retire. Yeah. Once I've saved up enough funds and have a solid plan, then I can focus solely on the work of God.
But by that point... I'l be getting older. Health complications, dietary concerns, physical ailments, weaknesses, frailties... so much for travelling. So much for working among the poor, building orphanages and hospitals and whatnot. I will have missed that boat.
. . . It has come to my attention that things will never be perfect. No matter what season of life we are in, there will always be barriers. Why? Because the devil is doing everything he can to make us think we have to wait to serve God. He wants us to feel like we are helpless where we are at. We can't do anything from our homes. We can't do anything at this age. We can't do anything because of our commitments, our job, our school, our friends, our relationships, our family, our schedule, our hobbies, our... <insert hindrance here>.
But if we go through life thinking we have to wait until our next season of life to get on board with God's Will, then we'll be waiting until we die! The grass is always greener in the next decade, I suppose. But look around you right now!
I'm looking around me, and I'm seeing a beautiful, cozy, comfortable little town. I'm seeing houses all around me- neighbors who I've never spoken to. I'm hearing children laughing and playing just a few doors down... children I can't even name. I'm hearing my brother and sister playing together in the basement, having a grand old time... siblings that I'm almost always too busy to hang out with. I'm hearing vehicles driving to and fro on the street in front of my home... vehicles carrying people throughout this town that I'm just waiting in. Some of those vehicles are carrying people who need Jesus, and here I am just waiting to graduate. Some of those vehicles are carrying other people who, just like me, think this town is just a nursery. It's where we live until we're ready to leave, and enter the "real world." It's where we study fractions and geometry and algebra and logarithms until we finally 'pass' into real life. It's where we funnel all of our focus towards school, and ignore the real emergency because we're "too young!"
Friends, whatever season you're in, this IS real life.
"If I was gradated, it would be easier to evangelize," "If I lived in a different country, people would listen" "If I was an adult, I could travel and speak to more people," "If... if... if...."
2 Timothy 4:2~
Preach the Word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.
We are missing the God-given opportunities right here and now! Okay, sure, it's not easy to serve God while we're busy with homework, but in case you didn't notice, the apostles' conditions weren't exactly perfect, either. I'm thinking it probably wasn't preferable to be sentenced to an isolated island for life. I'm thinking it wasn't ideal to be stuck in prison. I don't think it was the best scenario to be shipwrecked... but if those apostles had "waited" until the best possible time, nothing would have been accomplished! It was in those terrible situations that many of the letters of the New Testament were written; the letters that we learn from today! The apostles didn't wait. Their circumstances were never a hindrance to their ministry. Whatever situation they found themselves in, they made it the perfect time to do the work of God.
After what Christ went through for our sake, everything has been made bearable. There is joy and peace and patience and love available daily. There are no grounds for negativity, no reason for procrastination, and absolutely no excuse for laziness.
You're busy with homework? No problem! You can worship Him through your attitudes and hard work. You have school? Even better! There are plenty of people sitting beside you everyday who need God's love and who better than you to give that to them? You're working full time? I'd say that's prime time to be an example to coworkers, customers, clients, and employers.
You see, the true mark of a good servant of Christ is not how much time he spends reading his Bible... but whether those Biblical truths merge with every part of his life. Is God separated in your life? Is He simply part of your schedule? I'll confess, that's a yes for me. So I'd say it's time to merge. Let's stop categorizing our life into different sections.
Compartmentalizing is for fans of Jesus. Disciples of Jesus, on the other hand, live in constant devotion. Their life becomes God's, not just 15 minutes every day, not just their adulthood, not just their career, but every. Single. Breath.
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be, also.
If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.
Where He is, there his servant will be. Side note- He's everywhere. So why aren't his servants?