guest post by Nancy Golden
My husband Phil and I recently took my ninety-year old mother to visit a doctor for a second opinion. We don’t see Mom as often as we would like since she lives in another city and our schedules are quite full. Mom doesn’t drive any more and doesn’t get out much. Because the distances involved in traveling to her house and taking her to the doctor (which was in a city in the opposite direction) would entail us driving over a hundred miles by the time we were done, Phil decided to take the morning off. His plan was to return to work after the doctor appointment, which would be around mid-afternoon.
But something happened along the way. God has a way of reminding us what is really important. Rather than going to the appointment and bringing Mom straight home afterwards, after leaving the doctor’s office we decided to take her to a nice restaurant and spent the afternoon over a late leisurely lunch. We all had a wonderful time with delicious food and great conversation and it was so nice to see Mom enjoying herself.
After we took Mom home and got her settled back into her cozy house, we got in the car to begin our trek back home. Phil and I spent the drive time going over the events of the day. Something Phil said really stood out to me. He shared with me what had changed his mind about rushing back to work after Mom’s appointment. Phil recalled someone he knew, at church during worship time that person would always be flipping the pages forward to the next hymn before the one being sung was finished. Phil said, “It always bothered me that she did that.” His point was that we need to be experiencing the hymn we are singing, rather than being so task oriented that we are rushing forward looking for the next one, before we are even finished with the one we are in. Phil went on to explain that when we were with Mom, he realized that he needed to pause and enjoy the hymn he was in, rather than rushing forward to the next one. The afternoon with Mom was the opportunity for a beautiful hymn that God provided to be enjoyed. He could either ignore the opportunity, missing out on the beauty of enjoying the present moment spending time with Mom, or he could fully enjoy all of the choruses of the hymn. Ultimately, God was much more pleased with Phil’s choice: investing time in my mother, showing her His love by staying and enjoying the hymn he was in with her.
If you are like me, your days are filled with tasks to be completed. As soon as I get caught up in one area, more things to be done appear on the horizon. It is so easy to get caught up rushing to the next hymn in the hymnal that we don’t pause to enjoy the hymn that we are in. I often have to stop and ask myself, “Is there a neighbor I need to check on? Is there a friend I have not talked to in awhile? Is there someone I have meant to get in touch with that I haven’t made time for? When is the last time I went with our teenage son for a walk in the park, to the library or a breakfast outing?” All of these are hymns that I can immerse myself in if I choose. While there is a degree of necessity in doing many tasks, it is how we prioritize our day that allows us to make room for the hymns of life that are truly meaningful.
I love this quote by John MacArthur because it is a reminder of the “hymn each one of us is in” as ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
What is God’s plan to deal with this darkened, decaying world? His plan is us! There is no one else. It isn’t going to be given to anyone else. It doesn’t belong to famous evangelists. They’ll never touch the people you touch. It doesn’t belong to great preachers, or people on the radio or television, or people who write books. It belongs to all of us. This is God’s divine plan.
God can’t make his appeal through us if we are not available because we are too busy rushing forward to the next task. The hymn He has for us to sing (if we’ll pause and immerse ourselves in it) may be Him providing an opportunity for us to encourage someone who really needs it or to share our faith with someone who does not yet know Christ as Lord and Savior – now those are hymns I would not want to miss or rush!
I used to think I did not have many ministry moments because I was too busy doing life. But the truth of the matter is that everything we do in life has the potential to be a ministry moment – a beautiful hymn lifted up to God for His enjoyment and for His glory. We have the capacity to build relationships that reflect the love of our Savior with those around us – we just need to be willing to recognize those opportunities, pausing to delight in each hymn to the full.
You can join Nancy in April on a journey of learning how to build relationships with those around you in her course, Evangelism: How to Love your Neighbors to Christ.
Nancy Golden has a passion for sharing her faith and a heart for people of “every tribe and language and people and nation.” She is an adjunct faculty member at Dallas Christian College and has taught How to Study the Bible, New Testament Survey, and World Religions. In addition, she has developed a Cross-Cultural Missions course for Dallas Christian College that incorporates both the theology and the history of missions. Nancy and her husband Phil are certified lay servants and along with their son Josh are members of the First United Methodist Church in Carrollton, Texas. Phil and Nancy also serve as Sunday school teachers for the high school and young adult class at the Cambodian United Methodist Fellowship in Carrollton. When she is not busy with her family, students, and church activities, Nancy can be found riding her horse Pistol, who fortunately does not mind listening to her sing praise and worship songs! You can visit her website here.
Main post image: Sarah J. Malerich