I used everything You gave me

During a sermon a few weeks back, I was trying to encourage, incite, motivate. . .believers to do all they can for God.  That might sound a bit oxymoronic since we all assume all of us in church are actively serving God; don’t we?

For years I’ve heard a cacophony telling me to slow down.  Every once in a while it would work.  I’d give declarations about what I was giving up so that I could rest more and ultimately do more.  And, then, I discovered that just doesn’t work.  Speaking only for myself. . .let me repeat that, speaking only for myself, when I slow down and try to give something up, I just don’t do as much.  And then I start getting used to having the extra time (there is no such thing as extra time by the way) and ultimately get lazy.

There’s an arthritis medicine commercial on TV that says, “A body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest tends to stay at rest.”  Every time I hear that it seems like a call to action.  Of course, when it’s on television I’m usually reclining. . .in my big, leather recliner.  Bummer.

During that hopefully propitious Sunday lesson, I said to the congregation, “I’m going to burn the candle at both ends until I burn up.  Don’t tell me to slow down anymore.”  And I meant it.  

Much to my surprise, one of the sweet ladies in the church who has travelled with me to South America and who is a worker in spite of her limitations, embroidered a small placard for me.  I imagine she was rehearsing her own prayer and I am sure she was listening to me as I shared the desire of my heart.  Here’s what it says: When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.  

That pretty much sums it up.  Whether I’m transporting kids on a school bus, doing sermon preparation, counseling for marriage, rehearsing with the praise band for Sunday services, or doing any of the other myriad activities in which I find myself involved, I try to remember that this one life God gave me is all that I have.  HE gave everything for me and I want to try to give all I am back to Him with thanksgiving.  This is not about performance or trying to prove myself worthy.  I’m not worthy and I can never perform well enough to satisfy God.  This is about being grateful.

One final thought.  When I get tired (that’s not very hard these days), and my body needs rest, I go to bed.  These days, I go to bed early and get up early.  I go to the gym and train myself; I go to the gym and try to keep up with trainers; I work my body to keep it, make it strong(er).  The purpose is simple, so I can use everything he gave me.

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