Out of Service
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If you've ever spent a lot of time in the city, you may have had the experience of waiting for a bus. You know, you've got a couple of packages, it's cold, some weird people are starting to cruise by for the second time, and suddenly you see the dim outline of a bus on the horizon. Biblically "your heart leapeth within you" as you see the bus approaching. Finally it gets close enough for you to read the sign in the window, and there are three words "Out of Service." Oh! Three very discouraging words.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Timothy 4:6-7, a very interesting valedictory on Paul's life. Now, if you've ever tried to ride a bus, you may know how it feels to need a vehicle and find out that it's out of service. You know, not available for you to use? Well, God knows that feeling too.
And that takes us to Paul here at the end of his lifetime run. He has every right to rest. I mean, he has served the Lord with all his heart. He has every right to retire; move to Florida. He has every right to leave the battles to someone else; to hang out his sign that says, "Out of Service." Well, listen to what he says. "I am being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Wow!
Paul's picture at the end of his life, after 30 years of giving all he had to give, he said, "I still am. I'm still being poured out like a drink offering." I see an Olympic runner with veins bulging and every sweat gland pumping, fully extended, nothing left. He says, "When I cross the finish line into Jesus' arms, I want to collapse into His arms with nothing left in my pockets, nothing left in my energy. I will give it all to the finish line." Man!
Paul simply will not retire spiritually until he gets retired by his Lord to heaven. Well, that's the attitude we all should share, but we don't sometimes. Right? Oh, maybe you've worked hard for the Lord, you've done a lot of the jobs there are to do, and you're kind of tired. Now you're saying, "I think I've earned a little time out; I think I've earned a rest. Let's pass it on to others. I served my time."
Whoa! We don't have enough time to serve. Maybe 70 or 80 years is all we've got to make our mark for eternity. Please! There's too much to do; there's too few to do it. We need the seasoned leaders. Yeah, they're tired, but you've got experience. We need you. Don't hang out an "Out of Service" sign.
Maybe you're just really busy surviving, keeping your head above water. You say, "I don't have any time to serve the Lord. Maybe later, but, you know, right now someone else." Are you out of service? This life; this brief 70 years is all we have to do God's work on earth; to build something that we'll have for a hundred million years - to make a difference.
We're here to live poured-out lives, holding nothing back. We might retire to a different location, but never retiring from the front lines until God calls us home. You want to re-tire, that means to put new tires on so you can keep on going; get re-tired.
God is looking for human vehicles that He can use for heaven's sake. Don't pull up in front of Jesus with a sign that says "Out of Service."
© (c) Ronald P. Hutchcraft
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.