Urgent Priorities


24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 WEB

I don’t want to bury the lead here, so I began this note with the text that led me to write it.

It has been nearly two months now since the fall in which I broke my back and lost all feeling and movement below the waist. I hesitate to call it an accident because it so clearly is a part of the plans and purposes of God for our lives. While God has no obligation to fill us in on the reasons that He has steered our lives in a certain direction, I am pleased to say that I believe He has shown us at least a part of His intentions for directing us down this road.

First, let me catch you up on what has been going on: I have spent the majority of the past eight weeks in hospitals; initially undergoing two surgeries to patch my broken back together with long metal rods and heinous looking screws. I also had fractured ribs on both sides, which ripped into my lungs causing air and blood leaks.

Those leakages necessitated the insertion of chest tubes – plastic tubes inserted into a space between two ribs – on either side to evacuate drainage and keep up with the air leaks until the lungs could heal. Those procedures taught me a new definition of pain. I am now home, coping with life in a wheelchair. Though I convalesced in the hospital, it was not until I got home that I really began to heal.

Praise the Lord though, because we have known from the beginning that God was in this, that everything we were experiencing was for our good and His glory. We do not regret a second of it.

What we did not know from the beginning was what God’s specific purpose was in leading us on this path. We quickly recognized that God had put us into positions to witness to many people with whom we otherwise would never have come into contact.

Retired and living at our forest retreat in the mountains of North Idaho, we had extremely limited interaction with other people, and therefore almost no opportunities to spread the Good News of salvation. Though we were in a secure place from which to watch the world crash, we could do extraordinarily little to bring in the harvest before time runs out. That changed the instant that the ambulance arrived to scrape my broken body off of the floor of my shop.

It was beyond ironic: At a time when the vast majority of humanity was being herded into their homes and shelters; quarantined and isolated from the rest of humanity, my wife and I were put in positions where we interacted with multiple new people every day. I often chuckle when I consider how clever our God is.

Suddenly, I was telling my story to one person after another; explaining how I had fallen and how we were looking to the Lord to see the good that He would bring as a result. Though my witness was far from perfect, the Holy Spirit flowed through it, drawing the hungry. A person that has just been paralyzed, probably for life, is not anyone that people expect to be joyous and just that fact I believe constituted a powerful testimony. In some cases, I was probably planting seed and in others, watering.

You will note that I say “we” in this account where most folks would say “I”. The reason for that is because my good wife and I are inseparably bonded together in this trial, as we are with everything else in the Lord. Though I took the fall, her role in serving God through this trial is no less key; her suffering equal to or exceeding my own.

Her obligations as caregiver can be overwhelming as we confront problems of immobility and incontinence. Just getting me into a shower can take the better part of a morning, as new as we both still are at this.

Now comes the exciting part! I am not kidding!

Last week, the Lord flashed this scripture at me as the verse of the day from Biblegateway.com:

24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 WEB

In this passage, I heard the clear voice of the Holy Spirit announcing that Paul was speaking for us just as much as he was himself!

In the first phrase, I saw the abandonment of our pursuit of private pursuits and the previous priorities that God had laid before us. We were to neglect or reassign the mundane tasks of stewardship and maintenance in favor of pursuing the ministry that God has now laid before us.

I can no longer mow the grass, cut down trees, or do a hundred other things that need to get done around here. No matter, God has sent us other people to perform these tasks. In blessing us, they themselves are blessed. Getting them to accept pay can be a real challenge. The bottom line is that God has other things that He wants us to do.

 My personal interests like carpentry, excavation, stained glass etc. must give way to bringing in the harvest. My wife’s interests must similarly give way to this ministry because we are one before God and the ministry relies on our striving together to fulfill it.

Let me stress that, to me, the passage carries a sense of urgency due to a pending deadline. Paul was set on a course that he believed would likely end in his death. We are struggling to bring in the last of the harvest before the Rapture. Each day, though they already withstand pressures that I thought would crash them months ago, the pressures for economic, political and societal breakdown continue to build.

We see new signs every day that the current world systems are about to collapse in preparation for the realignment that will herald the arrival of Daniel’s 70th week – the seven years of the Tribulation described in Revelation. The Rapture, though imminent, is not tied to these events, but must precede them, so our time here is truly short. We must bring in the harvest! The Lord is not willing that any should perish.

The chances of many in the Church seeing this message before we depart are likely remote, but I pray any who do find it will be encouraged to join us in bringing in the harvest.

I believe these messages will also have value for those saints weathering the Tribulation as well.

Whether you are Jew or Gentile, the instant you come to Jesus, you become a minster in His service. Though you will likely surrender your life as a result of your faith, you are no victim! You are a bondservant of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and God will use you to bring others to salvation.

Not every member of the Body of Christ is a mouth, and your ministry may be to provide comfort or support to others who will speak. Your ministry is no less vital to the Body and the winning of souls. Your former life and pursuits have ended and nothing matters except that you use whatever opportunities you have to support this outreach that invites others to accept the marvelous free gift of salvation and to bask in the peace, comfort and joy that comes with the knowledge of the love of God. Maranatha!

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Photo Credits

  • Adapted from #91237724/Jankovoy-adobe stock.com
  • #271170291/braintohands-adobe stock.com
  • Don’t Mess With Israel by Greg Lauer @alittlestrength.com