In our ministry among the Landumas, occasionally we are called upon to evacuate a patient with a medical emergency to the nearest hospital, in the city 50 minutes’ drive away. All too often these must be done late at night.
But late night ambulance runs are one of my (Kirk’s) least favorite things I do here. But many times while bumping over bad roads through the darkness I have found myself thanking God for the opportunity to serve the Lord and the Landumas in this way. Many lives have been saved through this service we provide (together with you who pray and give toward our support).
But still, we sometimes wonder, what’s the point? If they continue to refuse to listen to the Bible, and continue to refuse the salvation Jesus offers, what eternal value can there be in rushing them to the hospital?
As usual, a survey of Jesus’ life on earth is helpful here. He healed many who were sick and fed many who are hungry. We know that many of them did not come to trust Him for their salvation. Yet He persevered, He didn’t quit, in the hope (and divine knowledge) that some would respond. And some did.
We, too, have seen some measure of a response with eternal consequences to our efforts at providing physical help to the Landumas, such as emergency ambulance service. If God uses such efforts to draw even just one person to Himself, doesn’t that make all that effort and expenditure of time and money worth it? The fact that every soul has eternal value to God provides the easy answer to that question.
CHRIST’S EXAMPLE OF THANKFULNESS
So He calls us to imitate Him. Paul said,
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
Jesus had a thankful heart (Matthew 11:25, 14:19, 15:36, 26:26-27, John 11:41), as did the apostles and those they ministered to (Acts 3:8, 5:41, 27:35, 28:15). And the New Testament letters are full of examples of thankfulness, as well as exhortations to be thankful (Romans 1:8, 2 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 1:16, Hebrews 12:28; too many references to list!).
A life characterized by giving thanks to God is clear evidence of the filling of the Spirit, when God controls a person’s thoughts, words, and actions:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.
Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:18-20
How the lives of Christian individuals, families, and churches would be transformed if we would only pay attention to this one Scripture! And not only on one day a year, or only on one day a week, but every day, every hour.
May we all seek the filling of the Spirit, and may it be evidenced by thankful hearts, the whole year through!
And may you have a Happy Thanksgiving!