Do you believe the richest moments in life are not the most expensive? I do! Thinking on things that are lovely, as Paul suggested in his writings, stirred this story. Pausing before penning some of my rich moments, I wonder what Paul would tell if he were writing this story. In II Timothy, Paul shared personal words of love with his spiritual son that his race was almost over; Paul took time to stir up the gifts in Timothy. Paul reminded Timothy of how his faith came to him and that he would have to stir up himself through prayer, worship, and praising God. Paul even suggested Timothy preach to himself in times when he needed to be stirred up in God. In tough times, preaching to oneself can bring triumph! Paul shared rich moments with Timothy and Titus even during persecution. Paul encouraged Titus to serve eagerly, enthusiastically, and live a “good life filled with beneficial deeds” (empowered by the Holy Spirit)! Titus was taught to live a holy life, be in a good church, and submit to godly, spiritual leadership. What are we teaching our youth today? Are lessons and living examples missing the mark that make for rich moments?
Rich moments in Paul’s life before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus would tell a different tale. He dished out death sentences for Christians until he saw the light and his life was changed. Can you imagine the moments recorded in the personal journals belonging to Saul the persecutor and Paul the persecuted? What if Barnabus, Paul’s encourager, had chosen silence rather than speaking up and risking his life. Barnabusreceived no fame for helping convert Paul, but can you imagine the crowns waiting for him in heaven. Rich moments (kisses from God) make for eternal happiness!
Rich moments Paul penned stir me up as I mull over his writings and marvel at his faith. Those moments can encourage us to boldly testify of the Lord and not be ashamed of our faith, to stand up for the gospel, be diligent, work hard, be strong in grace, avoid disagreements that can divide us, endure hardship, “as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” II Timothy 2:3
Are we - modern day, much to do, sleeping, well meaning, weary, working ‘till Jesus comes -Christian? Are we standing up for Jesus or being silent? Silent Christians avoiding persecution and being shunned from social circles or situations where our faith would be frowned upon?
Paul’s richest writing encourages us to know, honor and obey the truth of God’s Word and to fulfill God’s calling on our lives. We would be wise to read his letters and get stirred up ‘for such a time as this’!
Reading writings in old journals stirs memories of seasons when Tim and James colored my world with love. Rich moments Tim, Cameron, and I shared in the winter of 1980 brought Paul’s words to mind, “Come before winter”! Paul was in a hard place and needed help and encouragement from his friends. He beckoned them to come before winter.
Tim and I moved to Clinton in 1979 with our six month old son and settled in our home sweet home on Warsaw Road. Our little family was happy even with little leftover money at the end of each month. When winter came, we were unable to pay for heating oil to fill the big, silver tank beside our house. I told Tim our parents would gladly help us with heating oil. He agreed but asked that we stick it out together and get through the winter without seeking their help. So, we did!
At first, it seemed a hardship to lug a mattress in front of our fireplace with quilts and pillows to make our nesting place warm and comfy. However, after a few nights cuddled up in our temporary sleeping quarters with warmth and wonder from a crackling fire, we knew this would be our happy place for winter and embraced the lean season of finances with faith and passion! Recently, I found a picture Tim took one night when I feel asleep reading a book to Cameron in our den - winter bedroom. Cameron’s little body was curled up close to me with his hands tucked under his tummy and his hind side sticking up in the air. Seeing his little footed pajamas prompted memories of rich moments when bed time baths and baby lotion, pampers and sweet, sloppy kisses made us feel like the wealthiest parents on the planet. In the eyes of our hearts we were (are)! We survived that sweet, cold winter with warmth in our home and hearts. Rich moments continue to color our world with love as we grow older and closer to Christ.
Next week, I will share more about Paul’s contentment and my memories. Until then, think on things that are lovely and recall rich moments that are worth more than silver or gold!