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Permanent Moments

I just returned from Singapore where Pam and I had the opportunity to present a marriage and family conference. I met two pastors on this trip who I can already tell will have a long-term impact on me. I don’t’ know how we will interact in the future but I can tell you I am going to be a better man for having met them. The first thing that impressed me was their friendship. They have been working together in harmony for almost two decades. They have an obvious respect for each other’s giftedness, are focused on the same vision, and are content with their roles. I am sure there are times when they disagree with each other and have to work out conflicts but there was no evidence of jealousy or any apparent undercurrent of strife. This would be unusual in the states so, of course, I was wondering if it was more common in their culture. They both commented that it was uncommon in their society and they had even been told in seminary that it would not be a good idea for them. They proved differently.
One of them made a statement during our visit that challenged me to keep growing. I was joking with them about doing adventurous activities during their upcoming visit to the USA when one of them responded, “Bill, when you get older your heart gets smaller.” We laughed together but it got my attention. The tendency as we age is for courage to diminish. We get more routine, more cautious, and less daring. I don’t want to go back to the foolish risk-taking we all engage in as teenagers but I sensed a resolve form in my heart to take appropriate risks of faith for the rest of my life. Time will reveal if it was a fleeting intention or a steady conviction but for the time being I can’t stop thinking about it.
It is one of the remarkable truths about life that a short encounter with others can have a dramatic influence on the rest of our lives. We see many examples of this in the books of Acts and one of the most prominent is in Acts 8. Philip had a short meeting with the Ethiopian Eunuch. The man was seeking the truth but lacked understanding. He didn’t comprehend who or what he was reading about in Isaiah 53. “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus . . . and Philip baptized him.” (v. 35-38) This African leader go it. His mind was opened and his heart responded by trusting in Christ as his savior. “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.” (v. 38)
Philip wasn’t there very long and, as far as we know, they never spoke again. The Eunuch didn’t complain about Philip being taken away or feel sorry for himself because he couldn’t ask more questions. He simply accepted what God had done for him and celebrated the breakthrough in his life.
I thank God for the moments in our lives that last forever in our hearts!

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3 Responses

  1. Very cool Bill, I had never thought of my heart getting smaller but physically it definitely is. I wouldn’t even think about doingm today, some of the adventures of my youth. On the other hand I think our hearts, spiritually, get larger as we age. I know I am more willing to share the gospel now than 10-15 years ago. Thanks for your thoughts and inspiration.
    Glenn

  2. Outstanding. And I know EXACTLY what you mean re: the “remarkable truths”, Bill. Because you are one of those people for me.
    -Scott

  3. Fully agree, Bill! We must not diminish in our faith and courage when God calls. Alvin & I had a great time with you and Pam. Our hearts and lives are richly blessed. And I look forward to more interaction with you.

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