The Power of Investing in People

Edith Jennings had a decision to make.  She was in her late fifties and had worked many years for the hotel in housekeeping.  Now a new opportunity had presented itself.  The hotel manager had come to her and asked if she would be willing to quit her job and start a new one, taking care of the manager’s infant son so that she could resume her duties managing the successful enterprise.  Edith had already raised 5 children and played a significant role in the rearing of her grandchildren, but her love for the Lord and her love for children compelled her to say “yes.”

She took to her new vocation with vigor, doting over this little boy as if he were her own.  She was short in stature, but her heart knew no limitations.  They would play together, take walks together and she tried her best to keep the little tike from messing up the house, after all, she would not stand for her boss coming home to a house that had been destroyed on her watch.  For three years she cared for and prayed for that young child until his mother could stand it no longer and gave up her career to raise her child.  Edith certainly understood and she retired to spend the next 32 years of her life shining the light of Jesus’ love upon all who would know her.

I must tell you it came as quite a shock to me when Mom called to tell me that “Edie,” as I called her, had passed away.  I had not seen her or spoken to her since she left in 1973. Immediately after hanging up with Mom, I went to my computer and pulled up the obituaries on the Times-News internet site.  I was not prepared for my reaction as I read the words on the screen.

Though my recollections are few–just images really of a sweet lady in a white uniform– I know Edie loved me, prayed for me and invested her life in me even if for a short time. The 47-year-old man who writes this article today “is who he is” because of the legacy of love invested by many people like Edie over the years.  My name was not listed in her obituary, but I know, spiritually, I am a surviving descendent of Edith “Edie” Jennings.  Never, ever discount the effect of investing your Christ-like love into a life.  You may be shocked at the return.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem on the back of that colt, the disciples could not grasp that He was entering His last week of earthly, bodily, ministry. He had poured Himself into the disciples for three years and now He was about to pour Himself out for all humanity. I would never seek to diminish what Jesus accomplished on the cross, His true purpose in coming to us to begin with. I just want to pause long enough to appreciate the investment He made in the disciples during His earthly ministry. What a perfect model to follow! What a tremendous legacy to leave.

 

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” – John 13:1

 

 

 

Take Hold of Jesus

“There is no one who calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You…”

Isaiah 64:7 NASB

May this not continue to be said of us!

When I come across things like this during quiet times, you need to know that I share it with you because it first worked on me. I only share things that move me. Things that educate me or teach me something about myself, God or our relationship, these are the things I take the time to share.   If it makes me smile, laugh, think, and/or change, then I may deem it worthy of sharing with a friend whom I would hope would benefit just as I have.

This verse hits me squarely in the face.  Why? Being completely transparent, even though I have dedicated my life to the ministry of the Gospel through a variety of means, there are still those days. Those days when I arouse myself (or stir myself up) to take hold of my smart phone, my iPad, my computer or my TV remote more often than I seek to take hold of Him. What is it for you? Perhaps it’s easier for you to take hold of a bottle, a cigarette, a crack pipe, a needle or some other thing you wish you weren’t holding on to, but you are.

The arousal part is not so difficult. We can get charged up about anything. For many folks, the entirety of their religious experience revolves around the next emotional roller coaster ride. It’s all energy and effort, but that’s an end in itself. In other words, your effort to arouse yourself leads nowhere. Isaiah reminds us that our destination should be the LORD. Our stirring and striving should lead us to take hold of Him.

We are also reminded that our taking hold of Him requires some effort on our part. We must arouse or stir up ourselves. Picture a fire in your fireplace. Not the kind of fire you turned a knob or flipped a switch to kindle. An old fashion, wood fire! As it burns down and down, you have to get some sort of instrument and reach in and…stoke the fire. You have to stir it up. Flip a log or two. Throw another log on. The same is true with our spiritual life. The Lord is ALWAYS near, however, we must discipline ourselves to place ourselves in the right attitude so that He can consume us (Hebrews 12:29).

Don’t be consumed by other things and miss out on the One of whom we so desperately need to take hold.