• The Greatest Reward

     

    For some people, Wednesday is considered hump day.

    In our house, Wednesday is Survivor night.

    If you are not familiar with this reality show, now in its 38th season, let me give you a quick summary.  A group of men and women, all ages and backgrounds, are marooned on an island. They must work together in teams to survive the elements and challenges until only one person remains.  The grand prize is one million dollars.

    Our family piles on the sectional, eager to watch whatever challenge will unfold and which tribe member will be voted off the island.

    On this particular night, the challenge will bring the most coveted of all rewards:  time with a loved one.

    On the island for over a month now, separated from parents, spouses and children, each tribe member gets a brief moment to be reunited with a loved one.

    To be able to embrace a husband, mother or son after what probably feels like an eternity of being apart….what a reward!  

    Overcome with emotion, they leap into each other’s arms.

    I can feel the tears trickling down my face.  

    What I wouldn’t give to be able to put my arms around my Mom or Dad one more time.

    These few precious moments will be multiplied for the winner of the challenge.

    I cannot recall what obstacle had to be overcome, but I remember my heart immediately breaking for those who would have to say goodbye to their loved ones.   

    Saying goodbye to someone we love is one of the hardest challenges we will face in this life.

    Not a day goes by that I do not long to have one more conversation with my parents.

    But there will come a day when I will be able to embrace them again.

    The reward we receive as Christians is that we get to spend eternity with our loved ones, not just a few precious moments.

    Christ took the challenge for us, so that we could all share in this priceless reward.

    Because Christ went to the cross for our sins, we receive a reward that is worth far more than a million dollars.

    We receive the gift of eternal life.

    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

    This is the promise that I hold close to my heart.  The one that gives me hope.

    And unlike Survivor, where only one is chosen, everyone can share in this reward.

    “My Father’s house has many rooms.”   John 14:2

    What a joyful day it will be when there are no more goodbyes!

    Friends, the only challenge left for us is to believe in Him and accept this priceless gift.

    Challenge accepted!

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  • Running on Fumes

    I was literally running on fumes.

    I just needed enough fuel to get home.

    I had $3 in change left from tips.

    Gas in 1987 was around $1.08 a gallon.

    I coasted into the gas station and put enough in my tank to get to the next place.

    And so would begin a pattern that I would carry into adulthood.

    Running on fumes.

    Why is it that we attach a badge of honor to doing so much on so little?

    I used to believe that existing on Diet Coke and Doritos with little sleep gave me some type of Superwoman status.

    As I got older, I got smarter.

    I upgraded to a Skinny Vanilla Latte and a Protein Bar.

    I would fill my tank with just enough fuel to move onto the next task.

    Chauffeuring the kids to practice, taking parents to doctor’s appointments, working, grocery shopping, heading the PTA, going to this committee meeting and that committee meeting.

    My friends would joke that I never ate and stacked my schedule.

    Maybe your schedule sounds something like this.

    And so I coasted into my home each night, running on fumes.

    I would never stop to completely fill my tank, literally or figuratively.

    My girlfriend in faith, Dawn put it this way:

    “You cannot fill a moving car with gas.  You need to turn it off.”

    Sisters, I promise you there is no medal at the end of the day when you are running on an empty tank.

    There is just exhaustion and an empty tank.

    And you cannot continue to give if you are running on empty.

    That is not the way that God intended us to live.  

    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

    Just like a moving car cannot be filled with gas, we cannot be filled if we are in constant motion.

    My schedule was filled with good things, but I was never taking the time to fill my own tank.

    I love my Skinny Vanilla Latte, but I need more.

    His word provides that fuel that we need so that we are not simply coasting from day to day.

    “For it was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt.  Open your mouth wide and I will fill it with good things.” Psalm 81:10

    “He fills my life with good things.  My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”  Psalm 103:5

    “And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love.”  Romans 5:5

    Busyness is the tool that is used to keep us from filling our tanks completely.  

    We believe that we can go a little further or take on one more task based on our own strength.

    But we deceive ourselves.  

    We are simply coasting.

    I am tired of running on fumes.  Are you?

    The price of His fuel is the same as it was in 1987.  

    It is always free.

    Stop the car.  Fill up.

    “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

    Amen.