By My Beloved Partner – Bill Stoner
I had just finished doing all the dishes: every dish, every gravy ladle, every serving spoon, every pan, every utensil that was used in the making of a delicious Thanksgiving meal. It was my way of saying to the cook, “Thank you!” The kids had left, my wife was lying on the couch after a marathon day, and I was off to watch a little football. Then I also succumbed to the age-old art of watching football with my eyes closed (not a unique art, but one which is appropriate for the occasion). Thanksgiving meals are always exhausting but every bit of energy that is put into them is worth it. It is golden to see my boys for a few hours, to talk to them even if they may not be listening, and to show them the love of Christ that fills my heart. This is precious.
I know there are families that see their adult kids every week. They may watch their children for them, have them over for supper once a week, and some of them even work with them in the family business. That is wonderful, but some of us don’t have that luxury and so we grasp every opportunity to be an example to our kids of “Christ in us, the hope of glory”. Now, before anybody thinks for a minute that I am playing the victim here, let me say that is not what I am doing.
On the contrary, my life is filled with some beautiful moments. I get to call my sons every week if I choose to, and I can tell them things that they may not understand this year, or next, but perhaps some day when their minds are clear and their hearts are open, they will respond to with an open heart. And I pray that prayer every day, trusting that the same God who said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” will enter the heart of my boys and convict them of their need of salvation. And so, am I finished yet? Have I done everything that I can possibly do? Not on your life!
Jesus also had some “boys” with a thick skull and a hard heart. It is said in John 12:37: “But despite all the miracles he had done, most of the people would not believe He was the Messiah.”. Read the passage, John 12:35-46. Scripture tells us later that because they refused Him, He shut them out, He blinded them to the truth of His Gospel. But there is hope because some of the people were saved; some believed. With all of our efforts, we do not bring people into the kingdom of God; we simply give them the Gospel. This truth in one of the hardest truths to comprehend, and yet we know it is true.
I have a good friend who is on fire for Christ, and he is bold in his faith, witnessing to anyone who will listen. His passion for truth is unquenchable and his desire to see men and women come to maturity is avid. But isn’t that true of anybody who just graduated from seminary or Bible college – they get very excited, and they want to change the world? But then, often reality hits, and they are compromised like so many others. Well, this friend of mine isn’t just out of Bible college. No, he was 50 before he bowed the knee to the only God, Jesus Christ. He spent 50 years rejecting the Christ that he now serves with his whole life. You see, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.” Even if it takes 50 years or another day, another week, or another year, the wait is worth it because it is for my boys. You see, God still has some unfinished business with them, and I still have some Thanksgivings and Christmas, and holidays and any other times that I can be to them what Christ is to me: my example. Yes, whether it seems so or not, God’s business is definitely not finished with them.