Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Living Illustration

My friend, the right reverend Arnold Hendrix, called me a "story teller" today. Now before you get all third grade on him, you should know I take that as a compliment. That means like my Master Jesus Christ, I take life and God's Word, and bring both to this life and the living of it. I tell stories. You can call them their proper name, "illustrations", as they are referred to in preaching textbooks too. Every now and then I even bump into one.

Reading this weekend, I came across this passage.

16So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. 17These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 18There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4 The Message

Then today I went to see the illustration.

Rick Barton is a man with a host of troubles. A long time diabetic, recipient of a donated kidney that's failing and requires dialysis three times a week now, finger tips that have turned black from lack of circulation - the body that encloses Rick's soul is in need of repair. But Rick's a man that doesn't depend on his own will to live, though that is fierce. Rick depends on God's grace, and though he needs all of it he can get, Rick's still looking for people to share it with.

Rick's roommate Lloyd has heard from Rick about the grace that God is giving him. And in the most unlikely place, at the most unlikely time, from the one who outwardly seems to be falling apart - Lloyd met Jesus, and was embraced in God's love himself. Now Lloyd calls everyone "brother" and "sister", and has a real faith growing each day. Nursing home evangelism might be Rick's ministry gift. It was a great thing to see.

Friends, God shows us the truth of His Word not just in the splitting of infinitives or parsing of ancient languages. He illustrates it in life. I saw two men both experiencing hard times, who have turned their eyes away from this life's standard of living toward the next. They are living for forever. That's real life.

Take a look around today friends. See whether you're living for the soon past or the forever future. You can make a difference for eternity.


David Wilson


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