Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Time Well Spent

“I’ve been offered a part-time job,” my friend, Linda, said in a tone that was more questioning than matter-of-fact. “But, I’m not sure what to do.”

Recently widowed and retired, Linda was still very active, both mentally and physically. She liked staying busy and had excellent secretarial skills; I assumed this job would be perfect for her. But, Linda went on to share that she had gotten used to her freedom, and while she could use the money, she could get by without it.

I said a quick prayer for wisdom before responding to her. Having been home writing for several years, I loved setting my own hours; arising early in the morning to write if I knew I had something else going on during the day. Sure, I could find a “real job” that paid better, but I knew I was doing what God called me to do. Plus, this flexibility had allowed me to spend more time with my aging parents, both of whom were around seventy.

Linda’s parents were even older and she was very close to them. We had a short discussion of the pro’s and con’s of going back to work, even just part-time, when suddenly I made a statement that I didn’t realize would make all the difference: “I’ve never regretted the extra time I had to spend with my dad, especially since he passed so unexpectedly.”

Those few years prior to my father’s passing, he and I had lunch together several times, which included lots of long talks about the past. One day, Dad accompanied me on the two hour trip to Ohio University to see my son. Dad and I had a great day together; even talking about the Lord, which Pops was never comfortable with. I didn’t pressure him, I simply shared my faith.

Dad quietly responded with, “I’m not ready to do that yet, but… don’t give up on me.”

I didn’t. And more importantly, God didn’t.

Unknown to dear ole Pops, his response had lit a fire in me to “pray without ceasing” for him (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I prayed daily for dad to come to the Lord and put his name on the prayer chain at my church, too.

Then, just two short years after our OU trip, I got the horrible call that dad’s aorta had suddenly burst—he had only hours to live. I arrived in time to remind Pops of our conversation—how the Lord had not given up on him. I told Dad to squeeze my hand if he was ready to ask Jesus into his heart—thankfully he squeezed hard.

Linda knew all about this, because…she had been married to my dad. She had witnessed over the years the seeds planted in his heart for Jesus. After dad passed, she rededicated her life to the Lord. Then just this year, she learned her father had only months to live. Linda was able to spend time caring for her dad and sharing her faith in private conversations with him. A few weeks before he passed, Linda’s father asked Jesus into his heart. He even went on to share his faith with his family before leaving this earth.

Sometimes the enemy tries to convince us that we need to make more money, or that we simply don’t have the time to invest in others. But in actuality, our time is a gift from God. One day we will stand before Him alone and give an account of how we spent it. Spend it well—for Him.

“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33).


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