May 12, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: A Use To Be World

Brother-Aaron-236x300This past Saturday, my wife and I took a motorcycle trip with our good friends, Pastor Randall Hodge and his wife Kaye. We rode to Lumpkin, Georgia to visit Providence Canyon Sate Park. (The Little Grand Canyon)

As we entered the park, I noticed an old white clapboard church with a cemetery on the right side of the road. It piqued my interest and I told the others that on the way out I wanted to stop and investigate.

I’ve always been fascinated by old stuff like that. We strolled through the cemetery noting names, birth dates, and death dates. Then we walked to the church.

I was surprised to find it unlocked. So, we went inside. It was evident that a congregation hadn’t met there for many years. There was an old piano inside with as many stuck keys as playable. There was an old depilated pump organ in the left front corner of the sanctuary. There was also a pulpit, some wooden pews, an old wood burning heater, and even a few hymnals left inside.

As we walked back outside, an historic marker located in the far corner of the property caught my eye. As we were walking toward the marker to read about the history of the church, I turned to my pastor friend and said, “Now there’s a sermon for you.” He tilted his head slightly and ironically raised his eyebrow at me, as if to ask, “What in the world are you talking about?”

I continued, “Somewhere along the way a congregation met here. This ole sanctuary was filled with preaching, praying, singing, and shouting.  Hearts were touched and lives were changed here. There were people here whose lives mattered to each other. They worshipped together, laughed together, and cried together. They both loved and were loved.

Their young were married here and their dead are buried here. They did life together here. Now, all that is left is a historical marker that tells the story of a church that used to be and gravestones that tell the story of people who used to be.” Folk, the truth is that we were standing in the middle of somebody else’s use to be world.

Sadly, our lives today are often filled with memorials to our own use to be worlds. Photographs serve as memorials to couples before divorce, families before separation, health before a debilitating illness, youth before old age, and life before death. And sadly yet again, many churches have become memorials to a use to be world. Their focus is upon what was instead of what is or what can be!

At sixty-one years of age, in both my personal and Spiritual life, I have come to the conclusion that I am not ready for my life to become nothing more than a historical marker to a use to be world.

Oh, yes, I realize that things change and that soon enough my life on earth will be nothing more than a passing memory and a footnote in the annals of time. That’s why I’m doing the best I can to leave a legacy worth honoring. However, in the process, I don’t want to miss the joy of life today. I don’t want to live in a use to be world!

Bill Gaither penned the lyrics to a song he entitled: Because He Lives.  I’m thankful he didn’t entitle it: Because He Use to Live!  The chorus reads, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone, Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives!”

In John 10:10(KJV) Jesus says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The simple truth is this: When you allow the enemy to steal you’re your joy, you dwell in a use to be world.

However, when you determine that life is worth the living – just because He lives, you begin to live the more abundant life!

Are you living the more abundant life today, or are you living in a use to be world?

Brother Aaron  

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