I was once again reminded of my “why?” Why do you live the life you live? For me, I love Jesus, seek to live for Jesus and lead a local church. Too often, we can forget our why … we go through the motions. We preach sermons, sing songs, pray prayers and lead Bible studies. I enjoy serving the Lord in the local church most of the time. We Christians can be frustrating and lose our focus and purpose at times, but I love the church. I love seeking to honor and glorify our amazing God. And I am continually in need of moments where I am re-centered and re-callibrated to remember our purpose. That happened this week.
On Tuesday, I woke and spent time with my Bible and a cup of coffee — and Jesus. I had a sweet time of drawing near to the presence of God. The Spirit was filling my heart, reminding me of his amazing love and grace. Then I checked my email, and my heart began to grieve.
I read a message from an older friend in our church named Gil. He shared with me the tragic news that his grandson, Aaron, his daughter’s only child, was killed in a car accident on Monday night. I could tell through his email how devastating this news was to Gil and his wife, Annette. I found myself over at their house later that morning just to sit and listen, to be with them in their shock and grief. By the time I arrived, they had emptied themselves of tears already. They sat and shared stories of their family and their grandson, Aaron. Their hurt was deep, their grief was real and their faith was beautiful and strong. They held to the steadfast hope of the Lord Jesus Christ knowing He was more than enough for them. Then, Gil shared with me a story — a story of Aaron’s decision that he made almost 10 years ago at Vacation Bible School. Gil and Annette had their grandson come visit with them for a whole week while their church — Church on the Hill in Dalton — held a Boot Camp themed VBS. Young Aaron jumped into the week wholeheartedly playing and learning more about Jesus. On one of the evenings, there was an opportunity to respond to a call to receive Jesus Christ into one’s life. Young Aaron jumped up off the floor, and walked down to the front of the church near the altar. He prayed with the youth minister, Ray, to trust and invite Jesus Christ to come into his life to be his forgiver, leader and Lord. Aaron had a true encounter with Jesus Christ that day and his heart was changed. While not perfect, Aaron seemed to have an authentic relationship with Jesus.
This truth brought incredible comfort to Gil and Annette. They were so thankful for that moment 10 years ago when Aaron met Jesus. Though the loss they feel is real, they know that Aaron’s death was Heaven’s gain. And the greatest comfort they could know or find is that Aaron is in heaven with his Savior Jesus Christ, and that Gil and Annette will see him again one day at the throne of God.
I was reminded once again of why we as “the church” are essential. In moments like these, there is nowhere else to turn but to Heaven. There is no other hope to be found except for the hope that is found in Jesus Christ. It was the mission of a local church to share Jesus back in 2010 that helped determine a young man’s eternity. It was this story that reminded me once again of my “why” and the church’s “why!” There is not another entity on the planet that can provide and offer the hope here on earth and eternally in heaven that is found in person of Jesus Christ. We have the privilege of holding out the Gospel of Christ. Everyone we meet is either saved or not. They either know Jesus or they don’t. The church’s mission is to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.
And that’s the Word.