Live or Exist? There Is A Difference


Every day we are invited to real life. Not mere existence, but to be a part of something grand – something way beyond ourselves.

If I live my life just for me – what I want, what I like, where I want to go, and what I want to do – it can become uninteresting in a hurry. Oh, not because I’m a boring person. I have many hobbies. The word  “boring” is not in my vocabulary…unless you make me do the same task endlessly day after day. I am not a good assembly line worker.

The simple truth is that when I make the universe revolve around me, it’s not all that interesting.

What if I were to believe that Jesus lives in me – I mean really believe it? That I am, in fact, His ambassador? That my function is to bring reconciliation between people and God?

When I went shopping, it would cease to be just about me, but I’d be alert. Lord, who is it? Where are they? I know You want to touch someone today, to love on them, to encourage or inspire them.

Guess what? He’d show me the person for whom I’d been sent.

What if I believed that I was merely the steward of God’s money? That it didn’t really belong to me; but that He asked me to hold it for Him and spend or give it as He desired?

Sure, I might not have as much stuff; but I’ve discovered that the more stuff I have, more time is required to care for these “necessities.” I end up moving some of these items from one cupboard to another, from one room to another, dusting, washing, blah, blah, blah. It’s amazing how little time it takes to discover that I really didn’t need that “must have” gadget  once I’ve spent the money and brought it home.

What if He hands me money so I can spread it around to those who are not so good at money management? Or give it to those who have no idea that there is a God who loves them and longs to give them more than a few bucks?

What if I believed that Divine Appointments were awaiting me every day, wherever I went? That God chose me to interact with them?

Would life be more than a mere existence then? Would I go to bed at night feeling like I had purpose?

I wish I remembered this more often, but when I do and am watching what’s going on around me, I find someone who needs to hear that they are loved, cared for, that they matter.

There is rarely a week that goes by without one of these opportunities. There is an apt word, a bit of encouragement, an opportunity to pay what the person in front of me lacks for their purchase (“Jesus gives me so much. He would like me to share His money with you!”). Sometimes it takes more than a few minutes. In some instances it’s been 45 minutes or an hour. What an amazing time I had, though.

The appointment that stands out the most happened when we were in Hawaii.

My husband is fond of “shoulder-to-shoulder” companionship. As a result, we can drive for hours without him saying a word…and he’s happy as a clam. Me? I’ve got 25,000 words to use up every day. I like to talk – and not idle chit-chat. I love conversations that challenge what I believe and ones that make me think.

We were on day 4 of our trip, and had said very little. My “word” bank was backed up – I probably had about 95,000 of them screaming to get out! I silently asked Jesus to help me.

Lord, I need someone to talk to. I’m going to lose my mind if You don’t help me. 

A little while later, we came upon a young man walking in the rain. He looked to be about the age of one of my sons. I’d like to think someone would pick him up if he looked like a drowned rat. On a whim, I asked, “Can we give him a ride? He can’t be going far.”

To my delight, Wendel pulled over and we offered to give the guy a lift.

“Where you headed?” We asked.

“I was going to the Hari Krishna spaghetti feed in Hilo,” he replied.

We introduced ourselves, then asked his name.

“My name is Elyssia,” he cooed dreamily. Then he mumbled a bunch of spiritual-sounding stuff that didn’t make sense.

The short of it is that he asked if he could bum with us for the day. I was pleased and surprised when my husband agreed.

Because we always listened to Firefighters for Christ CDs when we traveled, that’s what he heard. It was mostly music, but we also played a couple of sermons. We asked questions about where he was from, how he’d ended up in Hawaii, and had some cool spiritual conversations. Commenting on the peace he sensed with us, he curled up on the front seat and took an hour-long nap!

When we dropped him off at 10:00 that night, I gave him a hug, some food and money. (He was a transient, earning money for a few necessities by picking fruit for the islanders. the piece of jerky we’d given him earlier took almost a half hour to eat – one shred at a time! It was the first meat he’d had in two weeks.) Looking into his eyes, I said, “You need to find out what your real name means. Jesus has a purpose and a plan for your life. The answers you are seeking will not be found in Hari Krishna, Buddha, or any of those other dead guys. You will find truth when you seek for the living Jesus.”

“My name?” He asked, then stated, “My name is Nathan.

It means gift of God.”

Whoa.  He certainly was my gift that day – an answer to the prayer I’d breathed that morning!

These opportunities are such gifts from the Lord. At the end of the day, there is such a sense of fulfillment, of having a reason to live. When I find myself getting depressed or asking, “why am I here,” all I have to do is grab my car keys and ask the Lord, “Where shall we go?” I love it!

How about you? Ever had a “Divine Appointment?” Do share!

Visit my blog: Lessons by Heart

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