A Lesson in Promises Kept… or NOT?
I hope you will bear with me, but today I am going to get real personal. This past Saturday, we laid my wonderful Christian sister-in-law to rest. Her death, due to a brain aneurism, was very unexpected and left her family, especially her husband of fifty years, in shock. After the shock began to fade, the reality of losing her set in. Due to our family’s faith, everyone is doing well and we all know beyond a shadow of doubt that we will see her again. I give you that information as a background, but that isn’t what I want to focus on. I want to focus on some lessons I learned from this dear Saint’s memorial.
When we got there, everything was beautiful and the service itself was very well done. We saw family and friends we hadn’t seen in years. The food was awesome and we were so grateful for so many that came along side our family. So what is the lesson here? Notice I said that “we saw family and friends we hadn’t seen in years” – not since the last funeral! (By the way, some live right in the same town!) At the last funeral we all said how good it was to see each other and promised to stay in touch…. That was the last time we saw each other. So this got me thinking:
- What in my whirlwind world is so important that I don’t keep in touch with people who should be an important part of my life?
- Are my priorities in right order?
- Is there something I am hanging onto, like an attitude that they should make more of an effort to see me that is keeping me from the blessing of a full relationship?
- What can I do different so I am not seeing them at the next funeral or that they are seeing me next at mine?
I know our lives are busy with “stuff”. With all the “stuff” that just has to get done. My concern is that the “stuff” is getting in the way of what God really cares about: PEOPLE! I look at my life in ministry, and I have to always stay conscious of the “people” God puts in my life each day. I can get so caught up in the “have tos” of the day that I could easily miss God given opportunities to be a blessing to someone else. And some of the ones that can really end up on the proverbial short end of the stick are those closest to us! God forgive me when I don’t take time to listen to those in my family; or to do that little “extra” thing that would make them feel so special. It makes me cringe to think of all the opportunities I have missed by being so absorbed in my “stuff” or my “have tos” that though they are important, they certainly are not as important as those God puts in my life. So, what is the take away from this?
- Ask God, TODAY, to help us to see and to seize every opportunity to share His love with those He puts in our paths – especially those close to us.
- Ask God to reveal any underlying “issue” that may be preventing us to reach out to others: issues like fear of being hurt; not letting go of something from the past; or pride.
- We need to be intentional. If I want to see family before the next funeral, I need to purposely make an effort. I need to call and invite. I need to put it on my calendar. I need to make a plan that includes quality time for those closest to me. My family and friends deserve more than “left overs”. They deserve to be a part of the “main course” of my day!
- We also need to realize we cannot accomplish this, or anything else for that matter, in our own strength. The way we will be able to have these priorities right, is to have the most important priority right. We have to be those who seek Him first; those who present ourselves before Him daily; those who honestly ask for Him to show us and give us opportunities to serve others.
When I think about my sister-in-law’s passing, I think about her husband. I know he would give anything to just talk to her one more time. Yes, he knows he will see her again, but that does not change the fact that he misses her incredibly. This made me think about my husband. I never want to stand at the side of a casket and say “I wish I would have said this; or I wish I would have done that…” I don’t want regrets due to my neglect of others. I don’t want missed opportunities where I got so busy that I didn’t take time to share God’s love with someone. When I promise to keep in touch – I want to really do that: “touch” those God puts in my life. I want to touch them in the following ways:
- T – think about them first, before my “stuff”
- O – order my life in such a way that they truly are a priority
- U – understand… seek to understand that we all have flaws and never judge anyone for theirs
- C – Christ’s ways; Christ’s love is the answer in every situation
- H – Heaven bound attitude. I need to keep a “heaven-bound attitude”, realizing that the only “stuff” I can take with me to heaven is people and the only “have tos” of eternal importance are serving God and others!
When the “Music Fades” in my life, I want to have kept the promises of touching the lives God puts in my life.