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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

If This Was It

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Five years ago I returned from a mission trip to the Philippines with more than just a burden for the precious people of that country; I returned with a mysterious illness.

After battling this baffling blight for all these years and seeing no progress, I recently took the advice of doctors and went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

While there for a month in a motel getting outpatient treatment, I had a considerable amount of time to reflect, evaluate, and take inventory of my life.

I began to ask myself this question, “If my life were to end soon, is there anything I need to change?” In other words, If This Was It, what did I need to change in my life to best make use of the time that I had left?

If This Was It, there were several decisions that I made in the motel in Minnesota.

I Will Listen More.

I Will Listen To My Father More. I’m referring to my Heavenly Father. I have a problem stilling myself before God and just listening to His voice. I have the Martha Complex. I often find myself “cumbered about much serving” when I need to be more like Mary and find myself more often at the feet of Jesus just listening to His voice.

In Psalm 46:10, God commands us to “be still and know that I am God.” I decided that I needed to spend more time just listening to my Heavenly Father.

Teen, is Facebook keeping you from your fellowship with your Father? Does your laptop hinder your love life with the Lord? Do you treasure texting over time with Jesus? Is your smart phone more important to you than the Savior’s presence?

I Will Listen To My Family More. As I evaluated my life, I was so convicted by the realization of how little I really listen to my family. When my two teen daughters are ready to talk, I need to be ready to listen. That means I need to put down the newspaper, lay aside the laptop, and turn off Sports Center.

I realized that my little girls are almost grown and gone and my window of opportunity to spend time with them and invest in their lives is closing quickly. I was also grieved as I thought about all the times I had not really tuned in to what my wife had to say.

Many teens seem to shut their family out of their lives. Do you get home and run to your room and shut the door? There will come a day when you will wish you had another opportunity to talk with your parents and your siblings.

I Will Listen To My Friends More. I realized that I had allowed myself to get so busy in the ministry that I had forgotten the ministry. The ministry revolves around people and sometimes we can get so busy doing good things that we neglect the best things.

I have spent a lot of time in recent days trying to reconnect with friends and making a concerted effort to try to invest more in people.

I Will Love More.

I Will Love My Savior More. Jesus said that the greatest commandment of all was to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” The most important daily duty for me is to decide that I will love Jesus supremely. This love is demonstrated by obedience because Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Teen, how are you doing in the area of obedience? Is there anything in your life that is displeasing to the Lord? Are you showing your love to God through your obedience to His commands?

I Will Love The Saints More. As a believer, I’m part of a very big family. All those who are saved are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to do more to show the love of Christ to my spiritual family members.

An observation that I have made during many years of youth ministry is that many teens drop out of church because of mistreatment or neglect from other teens. Why not determine that you will not be a source of discouragement to other teens in your church by your attitude or actions?

I Will Love Sinners More. I was really convicted on a recent youth trip when one of the teens asked me for a tract to give to someone at a restaurant and I had not brought any with me.

Before you are too hard on me, reach in your pocket right now as you read this and check for tracts. No doubt we have all been guilty of not being soul conscious.

R.B. Ouellette said, “A Christian without a tract is like a fireman with no hose, a carpenter minus his hammer, or a soldier without a gun.”

I recommitted myself recently to love sinners more. I resolved to pass out at least 10 tracts each day and to personally share the gospel with at least one person each day.

I Will Lift More.

I Will Lift The Hurting More. Every week there are people who sit in our pews who have a smile on their face but a broken heart. How often we get so wrapped up in our own life that we fail to see the needs of others.

I want to do all that I can to try to encourage those who are discouraged and help those who are hurting.

I Will Lift The Hopeless More. People without Christ are without hope. I want to invest the rest of my life sharing hope with the hopeless.

I am back home to my family and our church now. Hopefully, I have a long time left to live. I don’t think that This Was It.

One day, however, my life will end. I must do what I can while I can.

I have decided that I must do more. I must listen more. I must love more. I must lift more.

[Tony Bazen – Park Meadows Baptist Church]


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