Forty-five years ago, I walked into the St Clair Avenue recruiting center in Toronto and said: “I want to belong.”
Five years later, as my initial contract was about to expire, I approached my Sergeant and said: “I want to serve.”
One year later, shortly after arriving in Germany, I attended my first bible study and at the end of the evening, said: “I want to follow Jesus.”
One year later, I was offered my commission and declared, “I want to lead.”
Twenty-five years passed and injuries added up and as I was being released, I said, “I still want to help”. I became a member of the public service.
This week as I was reflecting on my years with the government Solomon’s words, as recorded in Ecclesiastes, came to mind, “Everything is meaningless, says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
Every day I served, followed, lead and helped, I interacted with people who needed God and yet I rarely spoke with anyone about Him. I attended church, engaged in spiritual practices, but was so focused on my relationship with God that I completely missed out on the holy relationships God desired when Jesus said, “love your neighbour as yourself.” For years I developed a relationship with God and focused on my eternity and for whatever reason, somehow did not think it necessary to concern myself with the eternity of others.
I felt my forty-five years were meaningless, not because I believe the military, or the public service has no value. On the contrary, I believe these roles are necessary for our society. I know, as do many of my military peers and colleagues, that responsibilities such as these help many and add value to our communities. However, it was all truly meaningless. In 1979 when I told God I wanted to be a follower, I failed and became an observer and bystander. I did not intentionally ask the Holy Spirit to use me to make other followers. I did align with God’s will to have His word spread to all nations. However, for many years I did not share the hope or love that I possessed with those needing Jesus.
Have you done the same thing I did? All is not lost for anyone who may have felt they missed out on sharing the Gospel. The year 2020 can be the year we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. While we still have breath in our lungs, we can ask God to use us in His kingdom building. We must, however, prepare ourselves to become disciples who desire to see others become followers of Jesus. We can ask the Holy Spirit to be with us during our daily interactions and to prepare those we will meet each day. We can ask God to allow our life to be a witness so people may see what a life of hope can be. We must continue to grow in our knowledge of God, and we must be prepared to tell others what we know about the God plan for humanity. We should know and be prepared to share our own testimony that includes what our life was like before we chose Jesus, the circumstances that led us to decide to become a follower, and how our life changed since we became a disciple. We need to desire and then be prepared to be used by God.
Happy New Year and allow God to make 2020 the year you begin to share your love with others.
“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defence to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
1 Peter 3:15