Friday, July 30, 2010

Expectation of Reward Part Two

4:48 p.m. Today's project was to pick up my daughter Heather (Mrs. Nick Love) at the site of Sandals' future church building at 1:00 p.m. She is a leader with the high school ministry, and they were returning from a weeklong summer camp up in Ojai. (Nick was working). God just injected a little fun into my day!

We shared half-melted sugar-free ice cream sandwiches on the way to her house, courtesy of my Jeep's failed air conditioning system, which I was supposed to get looked at this afternoon. I rescheduled that because I thought it would be more fun to spend time with Heather! As the kids grow up and build their own lives, I have learned to treasure moments I can spend with them, whether planned, like Mother's Day, or impromptu like today's crosstown drive. and I'm always up for laughs and finding out what's new with Heather and Nick.
Proverbs 15:13a is a life verse for me: "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance." And nothing cheers this mom like time with her kids. Heidi still lives at home until her June 2011 wedding, but with her and Pavel's ministry to the 5th & 6th grade, their Young Adult leadership roles and the time they spend together as an engaged couple should, sometimes I see her only at breakfast and bedtime, or during a quick stop in the late afternoon before running out again. My daughters remind me of myself, always with something going on, and blessedly, a great part of our time is spent in ministry! (Same with youngest son Steven, also a high school leader up in Fresno). Nothing, aside from marriage and family, is more fun and exciting than sharing the Lord, His Word, and ways with others, which is the essence of ministry to any age group!
"Yea, woe is me if I preach not the Gospel!" the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:16, and I say, "Amen!" only "Woe is me if I teach not the Word of God to anyone who cares to listen!!"
My kids are doing the same, and I can see them accomplishing even more one day if they continue to focus on the Lord and the needs of others God has given them the privilege of sharing His Word with.
Yesterday, I pondered with my son Kriss whether there is truly anyone who acts from a purely selfless motive, and I concluded that actually, pure selflessness is not in any of us! We can pray, however, for the Holy Spirit to fill us with Jesus' love for others, a love that compels us to serve them. But any efforts we make in others' behalf is a mere speck of a reflection of HIS character, not anything within us! We do expect to be rewarded for a job well done...
A friend, a pastor's wife, mother of two elementary age kids, as well as a public school teacher, commented that being a parent is the hardest job of all. [She's a sweet, involved mom, but summer vacation might be getting to her!!] On the "hardest job" issue, she'll get no argument from me! Parenting will bless your socks off, and then find you rinsing the mud out of them the next minute. But parents look forward in faith, don't we? That's what we hold onto!
Hebrews chapter 11, known as the "Hall of Faith," speaks of the incomparable forebears of our faith, from Abel to David, who, verse 39 tells us, "having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise..." The father of faith, Abraham, "dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise, for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Verse 13 says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on this earth."
How blessed we are to have obtained the promise of salvation in Jesus Christ! Believers look forward to our heavenly reward as well!
Meanwhile, I would encourage all young moms that their earthly reward is coming after the few years that will fly by--your children will have absorbed all you said, did, and WERE during their childhood, and you will be rewarded in ways that cannot even be described!!
Stay the course.

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