a shoulder tap...

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

There is a thief that comes to steal our time, steal our resources and rob us of our energy.  Satan wants all of our attention, all of our time, all of our resources and all of our energy to be used by him in this sinful world where he roams daily; seeking to devour and claim lost souls for an eternity in hell.  While listening to Bott radio recently a Pastor happened to be talking about being tapped on the shoulder and asked what our reaction is when somebody taps on our shoulder.  We generally turn around to see what the person tapping wants to either tell us or ask of us; that would be a normal reaction.

Throughout the Old Testament God tapped on the shoulders of people He had chosen to do His work; their replies were varied.  Some said “Here am I” and some said “Please don’t send me there” and too often free will came upon them and they turned away and tried to hide.  In his explanation of the third article of the Apostle’s Creed Martin Luther writes “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel and enlightened me with His gifts.”  The Holy Spirit comes into our lives, tapping on our shoulders every day; wherever we may be.

Sometimes He finds us in the kitchen peering into the refrigerator, lounging in the recliner, in the garage, at the computer, at the store or on the patio.  He taps on our shoulder and nudges us in a direction that this world would say “you fool, don’t go there!”  He taps on our shoulder and asks “what are you doing with your time?”  Often the replies of this world are “this is too much fun, it is my time, it is my money” or “I will get to your business later, perhaps for a couple of hours on Sunday.”

The Holy Spirit calls, gathers and enlightens us with His gifts.  As we occasionally drift into the alluring ways of this world the Holy Spirit taps on our shoulder and reminds us that there is work to do, more children to feed in Haiti; thousands more children to feed in Haiti; thousands more lost souls to save in Haiti, here in my city, here to the ends of this earth.  Each of us was given specific gifts, talents and treasures to use for His work.  I listened to the song “three wooden crosses” by Randy Travis yesterday and it reminded me of how important it is to always be attentive to the nudging from the Holy Spirit.  I’m not going to share the whole song but just the first couple of verses.

“A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher, ridin' on a midnight bus bound for Mexico.  One's headed for vacation, one for higher education, an' two of them were searchin' for lost souls.  That driver never ever saw the stop sign.  An' eighteen wheelers can't stop on a dime.  There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,  why there's not four of them, Heaven only knows.  I guess it's not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it's what you leave behind you when you go.”  I have seen wooden crosses along highways and there happens to be one just outside of York, NE where my father died.  I have seen them in Haiti where there were bus accidents and Christians lost their lives and gained their Eternal Glory.  This simple song not only makes me think about how many lives in Haiti that are needing to hear the Gospel message from a child in a Trinity/HOPE feeding program, and receive their wooden cross when their journey is complete.

The last line, “I guess it's not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it's what you leave behind you when you go” reminds me of what am I leaving behind.  How have I finished the work He gave me to accomplish?  How many tasks have I left undone or turned away from?  I am sinful and I know fully well that I have not always turned around when I was tapped on the shoulder, but too often have turned away.  We need to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, to come and tap on our shoulder and finish well the work that He has for us to accomplish.  If it doesn’t seem like there is anything for us to do, our Savior tells us to knock on the door and ask; and be patient and wait for His directions.

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen. 

May God be with you…Jay