I liked to ask lots of questions.
I can remember sitting in church one Sunday. I was sitting with my Dad, and I leaned over to him. The minister had just said something obvious to me.
"Dad, when you become a Christian, don't you already know this kind of stuff?" I asked.
"Yes," he answered.
"Then why do you have to keep coming to church? If you already know what it takes to get to Heaven and you have done it, then why keep coming back to hear it?"
"Because," he said, "It's always good to be reminded."
In my young little mind, I couldn't understand why someone would need to hear the same thing over and over. And for that matter, I wasn't taking into consideration the fact that the Spirit moves in many ways, and will usually always bring to light something new to learn each and every time.
That memory sticks with me, and I think about it often when I'm sitting in church.
Today, I sat by our elder's wife. Our elder and his wife have been good friends of my parents for as long as I can remember, and our elder is my dad's first cousin.
The morning service was so good and appropriate for the Memorial Day weekend. The minister read about "David's Mighty Men" and also talked about Hebrews 11, going over the "Hall of Faith." He said that reading over all of those people and the accounts of their faith reminds him of a cemetery. When you walk in a cemetery, you see markers of people who have passed from this life to the next, and you may stop and review something they have done. You talk about the impact they made in their life. It challenged me to look at my own life and think: What impact am I making? Would I be listed in a "Hall of Faith?" What will I take with me, and what will others remember me by?
He also talked about life being the "great race" that we finish... and how up in Heaven, those who love us may very well be cheering us on into Victory.
After the service, I received an unexpected word of encouragement.
The edler's wife leaned over and told me that she thought of my grandparents, and how both of them were such pillars of faith. How she believed they were looking down at me and so proud of me. How it took courage to do the things that I do...
Immediately, I became sentimental in remembrance of my beautiful grandparents, and also tried to guess what she was referring to in regards to courage. I thought maybe she would mention stepping out on my own, buying my house, or starting my business.
But she didn't mention any of those things.
And now that I think about it, none of those things are "tangible" things that I can take with me.
What she was talking about was the prison ministry with which I am involved.
She told me that she thought I was courageous and brave to talk to the women in the prison. How my grandparents would be so proud that I was spreading the Word in that way, and they were cheering me on.
"I know that some day, you will be rewarded for that, Taryn," she told me, "And not just a 'pat on your back' reward. A real reward... something that will change your life. Something inexplicable that will give you peace and joy."
I was momentarily speechless, but I managed to smile and thank her for the wonderful thoughts and encouragement.
She doesn't know that those words came at a time when I needed them the most! Not so much as it refers to the prison ministry, but more so the encouragement in general.
The idea that may grandparents are my heritage, and as my heritage, they were amazing pillars of Faith.
The idea that it is my great pleasure to carry this on in my own life, and hopefully I will have the opportunity to let it be carried on through my future grandchildren.
The idea that the world is not our home, and the "things" we put our hope in here are often not things we take with us. It is the soul, the heart, the spirit of a person we must reach out and touch... and in doing so, that life, that "treasure," suddenly becomes eternal.
Hebrews 11 says that, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
To me, "things not seen" include the intangibles... love, joy, peace, mercy, grace... and the list goes on. Those are the eternal treasures we hope to store up in Heaven. If only the earthly, corruptible "treasures" wouldn't cloud our vision.
Ironically, I visited the jail this morning. When I arrived to the women's pod, the guard excitedly yelled into the ladies, "Girls, the lady minister is here! Who wants to come learn about JESUS? Come on out, and learn about Him-- you will all benefit!"
I so appreciated her enthusiasm.
It was the biggest group I had ever had-- 9 women! And I was by myself.
I had prayed the day before that whatever I chose to speak about would touch even one soul, and I was blessed beyond measure to find the room of women in tears when I was done. They all loved the message and found it applicable to their life situations.
I was so encouraged. I have never been more confident that this ministry is where I need to be.
For some, they love children, so teaching Sunday School or running VBS programs is for them. For others, they enjoy the elderly, so visiting nursing homes and singing to them makes their spirit smile. And others still have a huge heart for orphans, so they give financially and travel on trips to other countries.
But to me, I have a God-given love for the broken. I think it's because I don't see them for what they did, but for who they are. At the end of the day, we are all souls created by God. There is absolutely no difference between me and them, because before Jesus' blood, I wasn't getting to Heaven any sooner than they were.
Are we all not just people, in need of a Savior?
Love you all!