Last weekend I was driving to church after visiting a close friend at the hospital. He is suffering from the ravages of cancer and the prognosis is not very good. It is difficult, and at times overwhelming, to see someone you love and care for painfully approach life’s end. As a humble spokesman for Christ there is no doubt he will be embraced and welcomed by the Father and find his eternal home among God’s angels.
I was a tad early for the evening service when my car began to sputter and cough, sputter and cough, sputter and cough. I had run out of gas! I knew I was low and planned to stop for a fill up on my way home. What surprised me was the fuel tank gauge still showed some remaining; no dashboard light flashed and the low gas indicator never blinked. There was no warning. I coasted into a side street, called the local auto club and waited. He finally showed up with my token five dollar gallon of gasoline.
While “patiently” waiting I was surprised by the number of people who stopped to see if I was all right. Some even asked to help. These are the modern day good Samaritans and is one of the many advantages of living in a small and friendly community. You might want to take a moment and revisit the story Jesus tells in Mark 10:30-37.
When my time comes to leave this earthly body there will be no flashing indicators, no warning lights and no spiritual top offs accepted. We live a lifetime surrounded by God’s caution flags and stop signs. They are designed to give us the choice of fulfilling the Father’s desire for a close and personal relationship with Him or a life forever bound by misery and fire.
I pray when we finally meet face to face he finds my faithful tank full, not empty.
Listen to these words spoken by Elihu in the book of Job,
“Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea;
the Almighty pays no attention to it.”
During my agonizing wait I tried to imagine how Paul felt as he wrote these instructions to Timothy,
“if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household,
which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
Missing church was not a very good feeling.