Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 21 September 2015

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” Mark 10, verses 39-40.

It’s been five years since my 25th high school reunion. Do the math and I’ve been out of school for thirty; duh.   There are times when I wish I could crawl up into a ball and go back to my hometown and just be a kid again.   I graduated from high school in a small town in southern Indiana where I had only lived for two years.   While there, I met my wife, made some life-long friends, grew up, learned about Jesus, and set myself on the path that I’m still walking today.   I thank God for every day I lived in Mitchell and the people there. Five years ago, I organized our class reunion.   Out of just over 120 graduates we had over 90 show up for the party.   That’s a pretty good number, and it was due to the hard work of everyone involved.

In those five years I’ve sometimes felt that I was going through hell.   In those five years I’ve also sometimes felt as if I was on top of a mountain and couldn’t be happier. I’d give anything to take back the bad things I’ve done, to un-hurt those I’ve hurt along the way.   But in that same time there has been so much more good.   I’m thankful for seeing my marriage rebuilt, my daughter married, my grandson being born, two of my kids graduating, and a hundred other things I could list without my smile fading a bit. And regrets?   Like Sinatra and Elvis, I have a few but, then again, too few to mention.

You see, I don’t let myself be obsessed by regret even though I’ve done things in life of which I’m ashamed and do regret. If you let yourself be defined by your sins then you miss the point of God’s grace.   What’s more, Jesus PROMISES us that life will be difficult, that there will be times of unspeakable pain on our path to eternal rest with Him. That path is part of what counts, mainly in how we use our talents, days and journey to reach other people with the message “Jesus is looking for you.”   You can’t live out that message if you wallow in ‘coulda woulda shoulda’ or regret. Verse 39 of guaranteed the Apostles that the world would extract a price in pain from each of them.   The same holds true for us.

Yet knowing that, I take great comfort in realizing that there are some things out of my control. Verse 40 says as much, stating to James and John that God is ultimately in control of everything and that He has places in mind for all of us. I need to be a good steward of my talents, time and treasure, but I don’t need to live wrapped around the axle about things over which I have no control.   God has appointed me for the life I live and He’s equipped me to live it fully, even when I mess up and always in His grace.

Happy anniversary, Class of 85.   Can’t believe it’s been 30 years but the best is still yet to come.

Lord, thank You for times to reminisce, for Your grace, for life experiences, and for today.

Read Mark 10, verses 35-45.