Tomorrow, June 14, the mission will begin hosting a group which, in coming days, will number up to thirty people for about a week. Bill, Galen and Brad have been working steadily to get certain features of the church’s infrastructure ready for such a large group. We’ve been working to clean up and clear up space and will be bedding people in several areas of the building. Some of the workers are coming to help with renovation projects, others with ministry of the Gospel and the food pantry. Manor Church is no stranger to hosting groups like this. In its heyday the church hosted large groups of American soldiers and New York City firemen.
I am scheduled to preach at least twice this coming week in Virginia and North Carolina and am taking time away while the groups are in New York. At present I am on a train heading south to Richmond, Virginia. Last night as I cleaned my room to “whistle clean” (as Pastor Bill requested it to be) to host our visitors, I had a parable come welling up in my mind—a parable of life, work, and Heaven. Twice in my life during times of heavy preparation and deadlines before travel, I’ve said to myself something like this: “When I get on that train to leave—I’m done: done with all the work I must do beforehand." The stress to finish my work may hound me for days before the trip, but I think: “When I board that train, I’m gone; whether the work is done or undone, I must leave it.”
The analogy goes thus: in this earth, we work, we attend to our responsibilities for the Lord’s work. Some duties we accomplish fairly well by his grace; in others we feel we barely succeed. But when the Lord calls us home, we go; we leave this earth for this age. Our work is done. A cap is set on our lives. No one can change anything that was done for the better or for the worse. In the “earthly” side of this parable, I have never yet boarded a train and said “Ah, I’ve failed.” By God’s grace, each time I’ve boarded, I’ve said, “Ah, everything is passed, and now I’m going to a different place.” What a comforting thought it is to me that one day I will look up and the Lord will call me home to be with Him. I will leave the earth and the works done here and “travel,” yea “graduate,” to a different place in which all will be righteousness, wellness, joy, and peace. God Himself will be there, and I will dwell with Christ eternally. The former things will be passed away; all things shall be new.
In light of this reality, I come to the next point I wish to present. In this life, as we serve the Lord, in light of the fact that our conversation is in Heaven, should we not be asking the Lord: “Let me go where your Spirit is going,” or “Lord, let me go with you,” as opposed to always saying “May the Spirit inhabit what I do,” which is not necessarily a wrong request either?
My little church in Virginia sometimes sings an old song, “Footsteps of Jesus that make the pathway glow; We will follow the steps of Jesus where’er they go.” What a blessed thought. (And I promise I will tie this into what I am saying.) How it must warm the Lord’s heart to hear His people sing this. Sometimes I almost tear up when I think of this thought, probably because in my mind I think of the sweetness of this song one day possibly being sung by God’s people during times of persecution. “We will follow the steps of Jesus where’er they go.” We engage, by faith knowing Him, in his works now, and, at some point now unknown to us, we go up to be with Him. All the former earthly, faithful, often sin-ridden existence upon earth in this dispensation is capped, and we go on to be with Him. We go to be in a better place.
Today, my Dad and one of my brothers came up to meet me in Baltimore. I had originally planned into my trip a long layover in Baltimore in order to tour the historic ships in the Inner Harbor. First my Dad and then my brother caught wind of this and each told me how he wanted to meet in Baltimore. My Dad and brother arrived from different parts of Virginia on the same northbound train, my dad not knowing my brother was on board. Now the evening has come. We had a great day. The ships were super-interesting, and on the last leg of my journey to Richmond (for my Dad, the return trip), as I write this blog, we are seated in the café car next to two Indian men, one of whom my dad has found out he knows through a mutual acquaintance. They are having a grand time talking. My Dad just asked me what I am writing about in this blog.
So now I finish the blog, sitting in the parking lot of Staples Mill Road Station in Richmond. Interestingly, I just met Virginia former-governor Jim Gilmore getting off the train. The Lord never ceases to amaze me in giving me interesting experiences as I serve Him!
May God bless the readers of this post.
Posted by: Christopher Love, NYGM Intern
Dr. Bill Jones
Dr. Bill Jones has helped in the establishment of two churches in otherparts of the country and served as Pastor for 14 years. The past few summers, Bill has...