I’m not sure how much longer we have together.
Son (may I call you that? It only seems right after all we’ve been through and dreamed together!),
If you sense the tone of urgency in that strange opening you’ve got it right.
That was on my mind so much as I would travel the hours to visit my mother before her eventual death. Time was passing and her physical strength was ebbing. I learned so much from her about trusting God through all that life and God’s grace may bring us. Even in those days the One she believed gave her no disappointment. Eventually that dreadful, glad day came, and like each of us, a human canvas wears God’s brushstrokes.
That is the way it is with us in this present age. God in his wisdom assigns us decades that become years that become months, months that weeks and days and hours. In that context we each must discover that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The good news of his gracious help for the helpless must always be the song playing beneath and above the events of today. The cross and the open tomb transcend all human frailty. Urgency comes as you too realize the pressing importance of making disciples by sharing what you have yourself received.
God by his grace intertwined our lives like branches connected to a vibrant Vine, ever growing, ever branching out, ever bearing fruit. We are neither root nor trunk, just as we are not sun or soil. But by his grace we have a place and an opportunity that only eternity can measure.
You know I always preached too long and said too much. This time I’ll try to bring emphasis by my few words. Now I’m sure I have your attention.
Find your highest and deepest delight in God. There are many things within you and around you that cry out for your affection. But only one merits love with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Love the word of God but never outside your love of the God of the word. Love the ministry but never beyond your love for the God who called you to himself and his service. Love the church as God the Father loves his family.
Love your neighbor as yourself. Our need for grace levels us all. Our possession of grace elevates any of us. Find in the story of the gospel and your communion with the Savior the kindness, truthfulness, and hopefulness for your words and actions. This means to love lost people and love “found” people.
Your family is first. Loving your wife as Christ loved the church is more about what you do than what you don’t do. Discipleship and charity both begin at home. Let your kids see your heart for God, your continual need for his grace, your confidence in his faithfulness, and your embrace of your mission. Then you’ll never have silence at your dinner table!
Choose to act. God tests our hearts in the choices we make; he exposes what we value and what we love and what we hope for. Plans are great. Strategies have value. But God’s love acts. You will discover so much of God’s presence and direction when you move on out on the limb!
Trust God and trust people. His work of transformation is sure. He is calling out people for himself to be lights in the world no matter how crooked and perverse any generation may be. Godliness is good for us and for our world. So open your door and dinner table and watch God work.
By the way, you are already writing one of these letters. The grace you have received from our Lord Jesus is leaving the same indelible marks through your life and onto the life of others. You are already writing one of these letters.
Still praying for you and trusting our trustworthy Savior!