Do you sometimes fail or forget to finish something you started? Sometimes forgetting or failing to complete things started can become ‘often’ if we lose our focus or get sidetracked. Being overextended with schedules and situations demanding more and more of our time and energy can leave us wondering why we can’t complete all that is piled high on our plates. This season brings graduation, Relay for Life, recitals, programs, parties, vacations, weddings, and plenty of ‘stuff’ to do that can easily overwhelm and keep us ‘often’ forgetting to finish something we started.
Last week’s column is a perfect example! Readers realized what I wrote was not finished in the middle of the message when I alluded to Stan Benton nurturing my sister, Glenda Honeycutt, through his love and loyalty as a teacher and friend. Writing that part of the story brought tears as I typed, so I began a new paragraph (chapter) with good intentions of going back to complete the beautiful part I left unfinished. Reading the story in Friday’s paper brought frustration first, then peace – for I write in faith and hit ‘send’ when finished. Going back with a fine tooth comb to critique can change the message…even when mistakes and unfinished parts stand out like a sore thumb. Often, life is like that. We become obsessed with doing meticulously and methodically and miss many blessings the Master bestows when we listen and leap in faith. Painstakingly going over and over what He sends to our hearts to share and do can cause us to miss the blessings of living in faith and enjoying the journey. I believe God expects things to be done right and in order, giving our best in all that we do. Yet, when we become burdened in a place called perfection where chaos and confusion can consume, hearing from Christ can be blocked. Contentment comes when Christ reigns in our actions and reactions, when He is first, and when we learn to live out loud in love every day of our lives…even those when the enemy tries to torment. He has no power when Jesus is Lord of our lives. The beauty of this message is that God gives opportunities for unfinished things to get done when we stay closely connected to Him. Doors open that no man can close, but we must make the choice to enter in and do what needs to be done with God as our guide and giver of time to do things near and dear to our hearts. Our steps will be ordered by the Master Gardener to get things done and enjoy the fruit of our labor when we stay connected and keep our eyes on Jesus, especially when we get out of the boat and walk in faith.
Finishing the story about The Benton’s and Embler’s gives me great joy. Many lives, besides my sister’s and mine, have been nurtured and blessed by these two faith filled, fun loving, Father loving families. Last Sunday, I left First Baptist after Sunday School and headed to First United Methodist for Chris and Rachel’s last worship service (in this season) at their church.
The Holy Spirit settled in that place with children hearing Chris’ message about our names being engraved in the palm of God’s Hand and Him having the whole world in His Hands. Then, Stan played an amazing version of “He’s Got The Whole World In HIs Hands” as the children went back to their seats. A peace settled with unspeakable joy that only comes when in tune to His Spirit. Two Senior girls shared love for Christ and their church as they begin a new season, (Caitlyn shared the memory of keeping a snake out of their church when she started to enter the door last summer and one tried to go inside). Powerful songs of praise led to a worship experience that will be engraved on my heart forever.
Chris Embler shared scripture of law (The Ten Commandments which none of us can follow perfectly) and love (the amazing love of a Father who sent His Son to die for our sins so that we can live out loud in LOVE…keeping His greatest commandment… and enjoy a personal relationship with the One who made us to live here on earth, serving Him, enjoying life, walking in faith to the calling He has for our lives, and being ready to go to Heaven when our work here is done) with personal testimonies and tears that told the story of Jesus in living color. In closing, Chris reminded us of the need to keep our hearts cleaned out and not let anything in that can cause damage to our relationship with our Lord and loved ones. Rot and decay can come in (as it does in the structure of our homes) and cause a collapse that can destroy the beauty of what God is building in our lives. Then, God’s anointed – Chris Embler – spoke of prayer needs of people in that very room. And there was quite enough love for everyone as we left our pews and stepped in faith to the front of the church. Children of all ages joined together at the altar to pray and bask in the light of HIs love and joy of His Holy Spirit falling fresh on each of us united as believers by God’s amazing grace!
Sweet fellowship of believers refreshed and refueled to go out and serve in love followed the service. Buckling my seat belt before leaving the church parking lot, I thought of the service, of the ones God chose to Faithfully and lovingly deliver the message and play the songs of praise which made the service complete as people came closer to Christ.
The Benton and Embler families will be missed but not forgotten. They have served in love and loyalty and leave our community with precious ties that bind us in Christian love. And just maybe their work here is not finished…as they walk in faith wherever He leads!