This morning, I had the benefit of a long drive up to a customer facility. The drive was almost two hours long. Some of you are thinking right about now, a two hour drive is a benefit! Absolutely! I had the benefit of listening to K-Love, my absolute favorite radio station. God really speaks to me through the music on K-Love. Sometimes though, it’s nice to simply be on the open road, and hear nothing but the roar of the engine, and just drive in silence. Today however, my mind was multitasking. I was able to reflect fondly of child hood memories, and family members we would spend time with growing up.
When we were kids, there would always be family gatherings. My grandmother made sure that these gatherings happened. She was the patriarch of the family. If grandma said we’re all getting together, you better believe a family gathering would take place. We got together at all the main holiday’s. Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. We were a large family. Lot’s of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparent’s. Our family gatherings were huge! There may have been 30 or more of us together at the same time. I look back on those gatherings and reminisce with fondness.
There were many aunts and uncles in our family. But, one of the people in our large family stands out today, as I look back on the times we shared together. I’m sure every family member has had an impact in my life, in some form or fashion through the years. But this person in particular, has made a significant impact on my life. Sometimes, it takes awhile to recognize the impact, someone has had on your life. We just don’t see it right away, until maybe years later.
Our gatherings would be filled with lot’s of fun and laughter. And I’m sure, the occasional disagreement. After all, were definitely not a perfect family. We had our struggles. As a teenager growing up, I couldn’t help but notice that my cousin Christine was absent from many of our family functions. At first, I didn’t really think much of it. But, as more gatherings happened, I took note that she was missing a lot of our get together’s. Whether it was dinner at her parents house, or the Christmas parties, etc. I wasn’t sure where she was at, but I’m sure wherever it was, it was important to her.
I knew my cousin Christine was raised in a dedicated Christian home. Church twice on Sunday’s. Once in the morning, and again on Sunday evening. And then again on Wednesday evenings. My cousin absolutely loved being at church. She was part of the youth, then as she got older, was part of the young people’s group. This was her life. Not only was she going to church, but she had a special bond with the congregation. Have you had those friends in your life that are just like your family? The congregation, and the people she hung out with, were all just like one big happy family.
My cousin Christine absolutely loved Jesus and her church family. She spent a ton of time traveling, praying, gathering with friends for worship, and just love God. She was always doing something at church, or for the church. From playing the organ during service, arranging alter flowers, singing in the choir, and anything else that was needed. She was right there in the thick of it all. Not because she had to, but because she had an amazing servants heart. 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. All of the qualities in verse 4:12 of 1 Timothy, describe my cousin perfectly. She had a heart of gold.
Church was not only a place Christine went, but it was a life she dedicated herself to living. She dedicated her life to living as close to Jesus as she could. We humans are flawed, and broken. Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear! Even in your brokenness, God will give you strength and hold you up when you can’t hold yourself up. But, Jesus asks us to model our lives after him. We will never be able to achieve the perfection that Jesus did. But, we can certainly try. Knowing that we will always fall short. But, that’s why Jesus sacrificed his life. Because we needed Him, to be that bridge to the Father.
If you met my cousin Christine, you’d see that huge warm smile, and a genuine loving heart. Everyone loved Christine! And she loved Jesus. When I was younger, I never really understood my cousins passion for church. But, now I get it! Today is that day, I can look at her life, and say now I truly understand!! Now I realize what it’s like to say, I want to live for Jesus. My cousin loved Jesus! She dedicated her life to living and serving Him. Jesus was her life.
Sadly, my loving cousin passed away in 2000 from ovarian cancer, at the tender age of 33. She lived with a sense of Godly purpose. You could see the heavenly impact she had on many hundreds of people. That’s right! Hundreds of people! The church was filled upstairs and down. I think they estimated that there were about 475 people that would come to pay their respects. Christine was loved by many! A life gone too soon. But, God had a plan for her. He needed her more. It wasn’t until her funeral that I realized the love that Jesus had for me. That was my really my first introduction to the real love Jesus Christ.
Never underestimate the Godly power of love. The verse below comes to mind, when I think of a life well lived. And the impact that Christine is still having on people’s lives today. Even though she’s not here to witness it. I’d like to think she’s looking down from the heavens, and smiling down on all of us. Her smile could light up a room. Even on the gloomiest of days. She lived her life dedicated to Christ.
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Jesus loves you! He wants a relationship with you! All you have to do is ask him to come into your life, and repent of your sins. Ask Him to change your heart. If you desire to begin that relationship with Jesus today, all you have to do is ask. He is ready and waiting for you. He has already invited you to the table. You just have to accept the invitation. What are you waiting for?
Dear Jesus, I know I’m not perfect. I fall short of your glory and grace. But, I need you in my life. Please come into my heart and into my life. Please help to change and mold my heart to be more Christ-like. Please forgive the sins that I have committed against you, and others. Change my heart that I may do my best to live as Jesus did. Give me the godly strength, wisdom, and courage. In Jesus name, amen.