A Bus Conductor

There is no doubt about the fact that being a bus conductor in a big city like Dar es Salaam is one of the most challenging jobs. But today I met a man who took it all in his stride. He had the warmest smile which he wore throughout. And he even had time to engage his passengers with light talk as the bus cruised along.

Indeed, a man is only as big as his heart is.

Incidentally, he was also an incredibly handsome man. He was beautiful both inside and out. In my heart I wished him well.

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Seasons of Our Lives

Ecc 3:1-8  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Recently a brother from a church in a neighboring country visited our country on a business trip. We welcomed him into our house and he stayed with my family for a week. During that period of time, he and I were constantly together since he needed me to direct him to the various places he was to visit.

This brother amazed me in that he would not stop talking about me.  He would keep telling me things like:

“Brother, I am amazed at the grace you have!”

“Oh, you handled that situation so well!”

“What a wonderful family you have! There is so much freedom in your home!”

It was quite a revelation to me. I frankly did not know that much about myself!

Now, I am not so stupid as to allow myself to be carted off on the praises of a man, however sincere they may be. But, apart from that, it was the fact that I did not exactly see what this brother’s excitement was all about. We may be the ‘perfect’ family, but we are not exactly angels in my house and I was pretty sure there were quite a number of things he could notice in us that were not truly Christ-like; some of which, truth be said, were prominently displayed right on the doorpost! But the brother did not appear to notice any of these faults. On the contrary, he was quick and sincere in expressing his opinions about all the wonderful things that he saw in me and my family. The remarkable thing was that one could clearly feel the genuineness of his heart. My family and I were challenged by his positive outlook of things and we immensely enjoyed his stay with us.

But things have not always gone so well for me. There were times when I have been maligned, opposed and hit upon.

After this brother left, I reflected on what had been going on and the above scripture came to mind. I realized that there will be many different seasons in our spiritual lives. There will be good times and bad times; light times and heavy times; cheery times and sad times. There will be times when men will praise us and there will be times when they will revile us for Christ’s sake. The obvious fact here is that in all these circumstances it is our hearts that are being tested.

When things go well for us, as when that young man praised me so richly, something in my heart is being tested. I am being ‘shaken’. If anything good can be found in me, it is so that glory may be given to my Savior Lord Jesus, Who it is that has crafted me to that degree. It is a time for me to fall down in utter contempt of who I am without Him.

On the other hand, when men rise up against me, that same heart is being tested in another area: most likely the area of love.

This is what happened to the Apostle Paul in nearly every city that he preached in. The classic example involves the Galatian church which initially welcomed him into their midst “as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” But not long afterwards these same men considered Paul an enemy because he stuck to the truth from which they were slowly sliding away from (vs 16). He had become their enemy! Can you see that?

But on all occasions in his dealings with them, Paul’s heart remained steadfast. He never allowed himself to feel uplifted by the praise of men, even when he knew that what they said about his ministry to them was true. And when people opposed Paul, he did not rave and rant or threaten them. Through the grace of God that was in him, Paul continued loving them and laying down his life for them. He tells the Galatians: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…” (vs 19).

That is the heart of Christ that we should carry always.

I wish you all a lovely Sunday!