And When They Are Old

This time of year, my mind always goes back home. It’s this time of year that I became an orphan. No. I wasn’t a child. Or a teenager. I was a self-supporting, happily married adult. And I still am. But seven years ago this week, my mother passed away unexpectedly. And eleven short days later, my father passed away. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them.

No. We weren’t expecting to lose our parents so close together. It was unplanned. Unexpected. Unwanted. But there it was. And we were left reeling in grief. We had two parents to bury and one farm to sell. The sale was bittersweet but necessary.

My parents taught their seven kids about God. They loved God and lived for him. They taught us by example. No. They weren’t perfect, but they were godly.

Every night before bedtime, we gathered in the living room. My dad pulled out the old Bible story book and read us a story. Straight from the Bible. Then we knelt to pray. One night, my dad would lead in prayer. And then the family would recite the Lord’s prayer. The next night my mom would lead in prayer.

I can picture my dad sitting in his office each morning reading his Bible and spending time with God. I can see him preparing his Sunday School lessons. I remember seeing him writing his tithe checks. I can still hear my mother, through the closed door, praying for each of her kids by name during her morning devotions. I remember the day that my mom asked me, after I returned home from youth camp, if I had asked Jesus into my heart. I remember the day she suggested that I start having daily devotions. She was interested in making sure I had a close relationship with God. Both of my parents were.


Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6


I have lived faithfully for God ever since I asked Jesus into my heart as a child. I have read the Bible from cover to cover. I spend time in prayer. That’s what my parents taught me, and that’s what they did. I don’t do it to be like them, although they were good Christian examples. I read my Bible and pray so I can become more like my Savior, Jesus Christ.

My parents had their own personal relationships with God. Now I too have my own relationship with Him. My prayer is that my parent’s prayers and teaching will be honored by my faithful life. But my relationship with God is my own to develop and grow and maintain. I can’t expect their faith to save me. I must have my own faith.

My parents taught me well. Their godly example is stamped on my memory. I want to be like them. But, more than ever, I want to be like Jesus. They led me in the way I should go, so now that I’m older I won’t forget it. Their biblical lifestyle and teaching has led me down the path of godliness. I hope my life would make them proud. But at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be their approval that I seek. I seek only to know and be known by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Now as I’m getting older, I find that I want others to see Jesus in me. I want others to see that my life lines up with the biblical teaching of my parents. I want others to see that I faithfully follow and serve Jesus Christ. Make no mistake. It’s a daily decision to follow God. I have to make the choice for myself to live a holy life. I can’t piggyback my faith off of my parent’s faith. My faith is my own. My faith is my responsibility. My parents were my teachers and mentors. Oh. Let all who come behind us find us faithful.

Clean House

Our internet service was slow, and we needed help. The appointment was scheduled for the very next day. And I wasn’t going to be home the morning of the appointment.  Of course.  There was no time to do a deep clean of the spaces where the technician would have to work. At least that’s what I told myself.

The technician knocked on the door. He had arrived whether I was ready for him or not. Now mind you. I know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper. I’ve never claimed to be. And I don’t plan to change anytime soon. But there’s a problem with that way of thinking.

As I stood in the room with the man, I looked at the space through his eyes. It wasn’t pleasant. It was cluttered and untidy. There was too much unnecessary stuff lying around. Power tools. Computer equipment. Clothes. The closet door was open. It was embarrassing, to say the least. 

Then I walked into the next room he would need to visit. All I could see was the dust. And the crumbs left on the floor by my dog. I hurriedly grabbed a paper towel and dusted as best I could. I picked up crumbs off the floor. I straightened the magazines. I threw away trash. It looked a little more presentable, but it made me uncomfortable. I realized that my laziness was something that couldn’t be easily dusted away in a couple of minutes. My house needed a deep clean. 

Oh sure. There are areas that I do clean each week. I clean the bathrooms. I keep my kitchen clean. I vacuum. I keep things picked up. For the most part. I just don’t typically allow guests to see the places that a repairman would need to see. After all, he needs to see the spaces that hold wires and outlets and other electrical things. Apparently, that’s the least tidy area in my house. 

I’ve come to realize that I’m perfectly comfortable with having a tidy house. It doesn’t have to be spotless in order for me to feel accomplished.


Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13


I know there is One who sees every room of my heart. I’ve opened the door of my heart to him, so he lives here and has free reign in my life. He walks through my heart on a daily basis. He sees the room where I feed my soul. He knows if my spiritual diet is healthy or if I fill my mind with junk food. Because what comes out of my mouth comes from my heart. He is not fooled.

As the One who knows me enters the door to my heart, He sees the cobwebs that cover the unused spiritual gifts that he has bestowed on me. He sees me when I rise and when I sleep. He knows the way I take. He knows when I obey and when I don’t. He knows me for who I truly am. There is no doubt I’m made in his image. He knows I don’t always represent him as I should.

The clutter of bad attitudes, unrepentant sins, words of gossip, ill feelings, unkind thoughts and many other acts of unrighteousness make the passageways of my heart uninhabitable. There’s no wonder that fear and worry and anxiety fill me at times. If I don’t keep those passageways clear, there’s no way I will be able to sense the leading of the Holy Spirit. He may decide that he’s no longer welcome.

I have to ask myself how I thought there could ever be room for God when all my priorities and moments are planned solely for myself. I need to clean out the closets and declutter my heart. I need to reprioritize and make room for daily Bible reading and prayer. I must sweep the cobwebs from the corners of my mind and air out my soul. I need to clean house and clean it now.

God doesn’t just stop by when I schedule an appointment or make himself available only on Sundays. He lives in this heart. I invited him in to stay, so He always sees and knows the contents of this beating vessel. My heart needs to be clean at all times, because it’s always in full view of the One who created it.

WWJD

She says she’s a Christian. But she hasn’t darkened a church door in years.  She hasn’t read her Bible since God disappointed her 18 years ago. Her prayers are only said in desperate times. She doesn’t spend time with believers unless it’s required. 

Is she a Christian? When she is someday standing in front of God awaiting her final judgment, what will God say to her? Well done, my good and faithful servant?  Or will he say. Depart from me. I never knew you.

I’m not her judge, so I’ll leave the judging to God.  He gets it right every time. I’m afraid I don’t. He shows mercy when I might not. He intercedes when I might not.

She knows enough about the Bible to calm her nerves by reading that God loves her. Or scare herself senseless by reading about Jesus’ second coming. But is that enough?

She knows to ask believers to pray for her when she’s frightened or hurting.  Does she pray herself?

Oh. She’s a good person. She helps those in need. She’s kind. She’s a good parent and wife.

But is she living as Jesus did?  There’s that age old saying.  WWJD. What would Jesus do? Does she ever ask herself that question? Does she pattern her behavior with that question in mind? I don’t know.

What does she mean when she says she’s a Christian? Is she saying that she’s living her life as Jesus did?


Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
1 John 2:6


I wonder. Does she ever stop to ask herself what Jesus would do if he was in her situation. I wonder. Do I ever stop to ask myself what Jesus would do if he was in my situation. How would I live? What would I do differently?

Just like her, I say I’m a Christian. I attend church regularly. I read my Bible daily. I pray throughout the day. I spend time with other believers. But does that make me a Christian? Do I have to do those things in order to be a Christian?

I don’t know if she has ever repented of her sins and asked God to forgive her. I don’t know if she has ever claimed to have a relationship with God. But she says she’s a Christian. I wonder what she means when she says that.

I know that I have repented of my sins and God has forgiven me. I have a personal relationship with God. I try to be like him every day. Some days I’m successful. Other days, I fail. I know what I mean when I say I’m a Christian.

But do I always do as Jesus would have done if he was walking on this earth beside me? Do I make the same decisions he would make? Do I say the words that he would say? Do I treat others in a manner that shows Jesus is the ruler of my life?

I say I believe in Jesus, so do I live as he lived? Is there evidence in my life that points others to Jesus? Do my actions say that I’m becoming more like him with everything I do and say and think? Can others easily believe that I am a follower of Christ? Or is it hard to see that what I say I am is really who I am? Who am I fooling?