"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
February 11, 2015
Recently I attended the funeral for one of my uncles. His wife had passed away in July of last year, and I knew that losing both parents so close together was tough on their two sons. The service was held at the church that I had grown up in and attended for many, many years. The pastor has been there for several years, and was my pastor at one time. He was speaking about my uncle and shared a story that I had completely forgotten about; and honestly, I didn't remember it because at the time that it happened, I didn't see the significance or think that it was a big deal.
This particular uncle and aunt had attended church for many years and had raised their boys in church when they were kids; but for whatever reason, they had stopped coming to church once their boys became teens. I don't know if there was a specific reason they had stopped attending, or if they had just gradually let other things slip in until they got out of the habit of going to church. They had a dairy farm for several years, and perhaps the milking schedule made church attendance more difficult. But when the current minister of the church came to the area twenty-some years ago, they hadn't been to church in many years. They may have came occasionally on Easter or Christmas, but I'm really not even sure if they did that.
The pastor mentioned at the funeral that when he had first came to the church, I had asked him if he would mind going to visit my uncle and aunt. He did so, and struck up a friendship with them. They began attending church once again on a regular basis, and continued to be faithful in their attendance for the next several years, until health issues prevented them from going.
When the pastor told that story and mentioned my name, I truly had no recollection of that particular conversation or me having asked him specifically to visit them. After a while, I vaguely remembered it. As I sat there thinking about it, it dawned on me that a small act that had seemed insignificant to me at the time and that I had completely forgotten about, very well could have made an eternal difference in my uncle's and aunt's lives.
Many times we discount the small things we say or do as being insignificant and unimportant. We think that they don't matter. But we never know how they may impact someone else. One thing that I am trying to become more diligent about this year is being more obedient to the promptings and nudging of the Holy Spirit; and doing so swiftly, without argument. Often when I feel impressed to do something that puts me out of my comfort zone or that seems like something trivial where someone may think I'm goofy for doing it, I will have this big argument with myself about it. Instead of immediately obeying, when I hear that little voice in my head that tells me to act or that feeling in my heart that I need to say or do something, I will try to reason out whether or not I really should.... if it's really God prompting me to do it.... argue about whether or not someone will think I'm being too forward or just plain goofy.... will argue in my mind about whether I should or shouldn't do it.... "Okay, if they look me directly in the eye and say something to me, then I will know I'm supposed to do this".... or look for some other type of sign that I'm doing the right thing. Have you ever done that?
A few weeks ago my father-in-law had a back procedure done at a hospital. Jon and I had gone with his parents so Jon could drive them, we could be there with his mom during the procedure, and could be there in case his dad needed help walking or getting up and down afterwards. A hospital staff member had taken us to a small waiting area outside of the surgical unit. We were waiting for them to call Stan back, and at that time it was only the four of us and one other lady in the room. Jon's mom had visited with the other woman on our walk to this waiting area and found out that she was having tests to see if she had M.S. We were quietly sitting there and I felt this little voice in my head say, "Go pray for that lady." She was alone at the time, and I could only imagine how nervous and anxious she must have felt. I knew if I sat there and didn't get up immediately that I would talk myself out of doing it. I normally am not someone who goes up to people I don't know and initiate a conversation, and this was way out of my comfort zone.
I went over and quietly asked her if she would mind if I prayed for her. I knew that whatever her response was, at least I had done what I felt like I should. She said that she would love it if I would do so. I knelt down in front of her and just said a short prayer. I honestly can't remember what I prayed. Afterwards, she had tears in her eyes and thanked me. Unknown to me, the nurse had walked into the room to come and take this lady back for the tests. I got up and went back to my chair, and the lady saw the nurse and told her that I had came over and had prayed such a special prayer and it was so nice of me to do that. The nurse responded, "Yes, it was." I will likely never see that woman again, and I have no idea what the outcome of her tests was. I hope that she had a miraculous report. But regardless, I hope that she will remember the woman who prayed for her prior to these tests and someway, somehow it will make an impact on her life.
There is an old song that says, "Little is much, when God is in it." When we act with pure motives, even the smallest deed can make a positive impact on the life of someone. If we're doing things to garner attention on ourselves or so we can impress others, then we need to refocus and get our priorities right. But if we do so with the intent of showing the love of Jesus, then God can do great things through those things that may seem small and insignificant. Let's all strive to quickly obey those internal promptings to help or encourage or pray for others, without question or arguing with ourselves. Who knows; something that may seem like an unimportant act may have eternal consequences.
I know it isn't that accurate, but I keep using our dog as an example. When we tell our sweet little puppy to do something, we want him to do it right away. If we have a treat, or he thinks we do, he usually jumps to do whatever we say. If we say "sit", he sits, then lays down, rolls over, and hops up on his back legs to dance for us. But if he has other people to play with, or interesting things to smell, we have to call him over and over or stamp our feet to get his attention. Eventually, he might get around to obeying, but in his own sweet time.
I know it isn't a great analogy, but it is fairly close to how we treat God. If we think He has some blessings to pass around, we will do what we think He wants, and throw in what we think He probably wants, and maybe even what we think He should want later. But when we don't think there's much in it for us, we might get around to it, but when work slows down, and we have some time off, but not before that nap we need.
3 Tablespoons butter
6 cups sliced potatoes
2 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in large saucepan; stir in flour and salt. Add milk, stirring constantly until sauce boils and thickens. Add potatoes and heat, stirring until it boils again. Turn ingredients into a shallow greased casserole pan. Spread 1 Tablespoon melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Diced onions or ham may be added, if desired. Also, can add shredded cheese to the top when almost done cooking.
This past weekend Jon and I had gone to visit his dad in the Alzheimer's unit of the nursing home. We were leaving and had stopped to speak to one of the staff. Another staff member and one of the patients came down the hallway towards us, and the female patient, who was probably in 80's, zoned in on Jon. She was grinning from ear to ear and asked Jon, "Where have you been?!" Knowing that we were in the Alzheimer's unit, Jon wasn't certain if she perhaps thought at that moment that he was her son or husband. He told her, "I was at the other end of the hall. Were you looking for me?" She gave him a sly look and said, "You know I was!!" She then proceeded to give him a hug, and a kiss on the cheek, and told him that she loves him. The male staff member was able to distract her and get her to go over to him. The female staff member told us that this lady tends to zone in on every new man that comes into the unit. It was Jon's lucky day!! I was so proud of how Jon handled the situation. We have laughed about that ever since it happened!!
"Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again -- my Savior and my God!" - Psalm 42:11 (NLT)
We love you!
Loretta & Jon