Second Article for The Summerville Journal Scene
“… you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8
I returned home late Sunday afternoon. As I walked in the door, I stepped over a red toy truck. I gazed around the room. Granted, housekeeping is not my strength. But this place was a mess! It looked like Fisher Price had exploded throughout the downstairs. The upstairs was not better. Beds were unmade, bath towels were sprawled on the floor and an empty popcorn bowl sat on the table beside the big screen tv. Yep! Evidence permeated the four corners of my two-story home that my grandkids had spent the weekend with me.
I determined fifteen years ago when my first grandchild was born, I would not let my house fall apart when my grandchildren came to visit. Oh, no! I would teach this future generation the discipline of “get out one toy, return one toy”. But I quickly learned I could be a “neat Nina” or a “fun Nina”. For me, there was no middle ground.
I plopped on the sofa. I was exhausted. It was a good type of tired, though. But still, I was drained. Thinking back over the past two days, I relived Friday afternoon at the beach, Saturday at “Bee City”, supper at Smash Burger and TWO trips to TCBY (once on Friday night, again on Saturday night). This morning we got up early, dressed, gulped down some breakfast and raced out the door to church. I wondered, “What did I accomplish this weekend?”
Psalm 78:4 tells me to “tell the next generation of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord”. “I know that verse, Lord,” I said in my heart. “We read SEVERAL Bible stories each night.” I thought further, “And we blessed our food! We even prayed ‘thanks’ for the yogurt!” Sighing, I murmured, “It’s just so hard, Lord. I WANT to impress Your love on their tender hearts. But the young ones are active and the older ones are distracted.” Throwing back my head, I looked at the ceiling hoping I might see “the handwriting on the wall” informing me of better ways to spiritually impact my family.
Recently, I was reading in the book of Acts about the early days of the Church. At this point, I’m sure the disciples were more frustrated with God than I have ever been. Afterall, they had walked and talked with Jesus for three years. Then, He died. But three days later He arose! He appeared to them numerous times. His final instruction to them was to “wait for the gift my Father promised.” (Acts 1:4) “In a few days,” Jesus said, “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:5) The disciples were looking for triumph over their enemies. They responded to Jesus’ words by asking if he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6) They didn’t get it. Sometimes, I feel I don’t “get it” either.
Days later, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit arrived falling in a magnificent manner upon the disciples. As Jesus had said, they received power. Peter, who once had denied the Lord, now stood strong teaching the crowds. The result was over three thousand people came to know Christ.
The disciples had received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them “… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, … you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, … in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) My mind absorbs these words. True to the Lord, witnesses have been carrying God’s message to all nations. I shift my weight on the sofa. I may not be traveling to the far corners of the world but I do have five grandchildren here in my world. I know the Lord called Christians to “The Great Commission”. But I believe He called grandparents to the “First Mission” of reaching our loved ones for Him.
Once again, I turn my eyes upward. I look beyond the ceiling towards my mental picture of the heavenly home of the Lord. Speaking out loud, I invite the Holy Spirit to come into my heart, “Fall afresh upon me, Lord, that I may powerfully impact my grandchildren. Like the disciples, fill me up with your Spirit.” I realized at that moment without the power of the Holy Spirit thriving within me, I am a weak vessel for the Lord. But filled with His Spirit, I can be His witness within my family. Who knows? If I do my job well, maybe one of them will witness to the ends of the earth.