Tuesday, March 3, 2009
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Some longtime friends dropped by for a visit recently and they told us a moving story of what has happened to their son. Tom is a missionary pilot in Mexico - one of those spiritual heroes, I think, who take the Gospel and God's help to places they could otherwise never go, including a mountain village in Mexico where the pilots have been God's instruments to launch a mighty work for Christ. And then came the crash. With three missionary pilots and several passengers aboard, a defect in their plane's almost new engine caused this terrible crash. Tom was one of those who survived that crash that could have very well killed everyone. The villagers who loved them actually traveled hours to reach them and rescue them. Tom's body was badly shattered, and his recovery has been long - it's been grueling. But recently he was flown back to the area where he ministered. His parents choked up, and honestly so did we, as they told us what happened as he got off the plane. There to greet him was a crowd of cheering Mexican friends. And they were holding a banner that simply said "Welcome home, Captain Tom!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your 'Welcome Home.'"
I'm hoping you and I can get a "welcome home" like that someday in heaven. It all depends on what we live for in the years until we get home.
In our word for today from the Word of God, Paul clearly lays out what matters most to him about the legacy of his life. In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, he writes these words to the people that he's invested his life in spiritually: "What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy." Paul is looking forward to getting to heaven and seeing a lot of people that he touched for eternity. That is the welcoming party he's living for.
Basically, Paul says there are two things that matter in life: the Savior you serve and the lives you touch. That is your reward for the years you spend on this planet, that's your legacy, that's your joy. Or at least it's supposed to be.
It's possible that your life's priorities have gotten a little inverted by the pressures and the people and the problems that tend to fill up your life. You've been taken over by a truckload of earth-stuff. One friend of mine summed it up pretty well the other day. When someone asked him if he's ever played Trivial Pursuit, he says, "Every day." He's not talking about the game. He's talking about his life.
Just hearing about Pilot Tom's "welcome home" was an important values-clarification reminder. If you've become consumed and sidetracked with a lot of stuff that's non-eternal, maybe it's time to get with Jesus and replace your agenda with His agenda to "seek first His kingdom" (Matthew 6:33).
And if you're a little weary or discouraged in your faithful service for Jesus, I hope you'll be encouraged by the thought of the reward you're building, the legacy you're developing and the lives that have been touched by your sacrifices who will be thanking you forever. The people you've risked to take to heaven with you will be there, humanly speaking, because you cared. The lives that have been touched by the ministries you've given to will, in the Bible's words, be "credited to your account" (Philippians 4:17).
All that really matters is what's going to meet you when you get to heaven. First, your Savior who will welcome you with the words you have lived to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." And the people your life in Christ has touched for eternity. Who knows, maybe they'll be holding a banner with your name on it that says, "Welcome home!"