Sunday, August 24, 2008
One boat began falling behind. Not enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship's cargo and tossed it into the ovens. When the sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as the coal, they fueled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. They ended up winning the race, but burned their cargo.
God has entrusted cargo to us, too: spouses and children. Our job is to do our part in seeing that this cargo reaches its destination. Yet when “our program” takes priority over people, people often suffer. How much cargo do we sacrifice in order to achieve the number one slot? How many people never reach the destination because of the aggressiveness of a competitive captain?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
By Monday morning when you get up, it's the lead story. For it's not just India; it's Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you're hearing this story everywhere, and they have coined it now as "the mystery flu." The President has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, "How are we going to contain it?" That's when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. That night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: "There's a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu. "It has come to Europe."
Panic strikes. As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don't know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. Then you die. Britain closes it's borders, but it's too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it's Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: "Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I'm sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing."
Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what if it comes to this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, "It's the scourge of God."
It's Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio!" While the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made, "Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu." Within hours it seems, this thing just sweeps across the country.
People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It's as though it's just sweeping in from the borders.
Then, all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: "Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That's all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make to the hospitals."
Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they've got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your wife and your kids are out there, and they take your blood type and they say, "Wait here in the parking lot and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home."
You stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on, and that this could be the end of the world. Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, "Daddy, that's me."
Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. "Wait a minute, hold it!" And they say, "It's okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn't have the disease. We think he has the right blood type. Your son could save the world."
Five agonizing minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another some are even laughing. It's the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you, sir. Your son's blood type is perfect. It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine."
As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, "May we see you for a moment? We didn't realize that the donor would be a minor and we need...we need you to sign a consent form."
You begin to sign and then you see that the space that indicates the number of pints of blood to be taken, is empty. "H-h-h-how many pints?" And that is when the old doctor's smile fades and he says, "We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it all, sir." "But...but..." "You don't understand. We are talking about the world here. Please sign." "But can't you give him a transfusion?" "If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?" In numb silence you sign.
Then they say, "Would you like to have a moment with your son before we begin?"
Can you walk away? You've asked yourself, can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?" Can you take his little hands and say, "Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn't just have to be. Do you understand that?" And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm sorry, we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying." Can you leave? Can you walk out while he is saying, "Dad? Mom? Dad? Why, why have you forsaken me?"
Then the following week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't even come because they go on vacation, go fishing, go to the ballgame, stay home with company, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care.
Would you want to jump up and say,
"MY SON DIED FOR YOU!!! DON'T YOU CARE?"
Is that what God is saying? "MY SON DIED FOR YOU. DON'T YOU CARE? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?"
He asks us to set one day a week aside, in honor of His Son. How faithful have you been? Or is everything else more important? Something to think about friend.....
Saturday, August 9, 2008
It is a great principle of love that people don't interrupt, not really. Perhaps there shouldn't even be such a word as interrupt; for when people come into your existence, even for a brief time, that is a wonderful moment of experience for both of you. Relish it. Probe it. Invest some time in them. We can't afford to indulge in the luxury of "being too busy and important" for another person.
We have time for such inanimate things, as pieces of mail, vast sprawling shopping centers, the television program which starts at 7:30. But what about relationships with people? Isn't that a great deal of what life is all about--loving other people? Remember Jesus? How he raced about, hurrying from one city to another, collecting great crowds on the way, to give them a few minutes of hurried heaven-data, then dashing on to the next place?
No, that is not the picture of Jesus the New Testament gives. He had time for people. In a crowd, a woman touched his robe. Lots of people were probably pushing against him, touching his robe, but he discerned the urgency in this particular touch. He stopped, taking valuable time for this "interruption." His disciples were full of fire and computer-like- efficiency. They wanted to get on with the task of getting something done, even if they didn't always know what that "something" was.
Once a bunch of small, grimy-fingered kids came along and wanted to climb on the Master's lap. "Get those kids out of here," thought the goal-oriented disciples. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.....And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. The Son of God knew and expressed the great worth of an individual.
The next time a person "interrupts" you, think not of your work and your deadlines; rather, think of that person's needs, of his covert compliment in desiring to spend a few moments with you. Your meeting may be a significant point in each of your lives, because it is an encounter with another person God has created. You may impart something crucial to his fulfillment--or he to yours. Paul prayed: Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: Romans 15:5
Who will you make time for today?