Nearing the close of one of our worship services at church two Sundays ago, I suddenly got this thought and I took it as coming from the Lord: “There are some here who I just gave a marvelous gift to, something they were not expecting.” I felt that He wanted me to share it with the church when I came up for the closing prayer and that He told me that for a specific reason. Once I got to the pulpit, I shared the thought with the church and added that the Lord wanted to remind those highly favored recipients to do something with what they had just received. After the service, two people came up to me to tell me the great thing God had done for them during the week, and pledged that they would definitely do something with it.
When I was pondering the thought before I came up to dismiss and give “the blessing”, my mind went back to the story in the gospels of the demon-possessed man that was healed by Jesus. He was so grateful for his miraculous gift that he asked Jesus if he could follow Him. Mark 5:19 reads: “Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” The man did just that, sharing his astonishing story wherever he went. I also thought of a scene I vividly recall in the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” In the scene where Captain Miller is dying, he whispers in Ryan’s ear, “Earn this; earn it.” He, of course, was reminding him to do something notable in his life, to make his rescue worthwhile. Many, many years later, Ryan, now an old army veteran visits Captain Miller’s grave to thank him for what he and the rest of the unit did for him many years prior, and that he still thinks about it every day. When his wife arrives at his side, he turns to her and says: “Tell me I have led a good life; tell me I’m a good man.” Without a doubt, he wanted confirmation that he had done something good with the gift he had received many years ago.
Wednesday, I was still thinking about the thought I received on Sunday morning when I saw in the world news the story about the death of a teenager from Georgia this past Tuesdaywho received a heart transplant two years ago. The young man died in a crash while fleeing from the police after he allegedly carjacked a car and shot an 81 year old woman. He had initially been denied in his request for the transplant but later got the operation. I don’t know what happened in the life of this teenager after his life saving operation, but it appears that very little good resulted with the marvelous gift he received, and that is a real tragedy. I wrote recently about the importance of God’s children doing “little things” for others on a regular basis. (A Personal Inventory, 3/23/15) Even if we only focused on doing these, our lives would be worthwhile and we, in fact, would be doing something positive with the gifts we have received from God. I also feel pretty confident that by doing so, we would one day hear Jesus say to us in Heaven, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Note: This should have been last Friday’s message but I had problems with my email server and couldn’t send it out.