I hail from a family where I am one of five siblings – three girls, two boys. My oldest brother died several years ago. He lived all his life in my hometown, which I haven’t lived in since I was 21. After I moved out of the area my brother married a lovely woman. By the time he got married I was living on the west coast and couldn’t make it back for the ceremony, so I didn’t meet his wife and two children until several years later.
Neil and I eventually moved to New Jersey when my brother’s oldest child was 8 years old. We then were able to interact with his family on holidays when we would drive home to visit. But, holidays as usual are all hustle and bustle and with three other siblings and their families to visit we still didn’t get to know my brother’s wife and family very well until they started coming to visit us at the shore.
It is always a joy to entertain family but it is also much easier to chat longer and more intimately when someone is staying with us for a week at a time. This family was such a delight to get to know. My sister-in-law and I clicked right away and I could see that she and my brother were a wonderful couple. When they would visit we would catch up on the years that had passed and Neil and I also got a chance to know each of the children a little better.
This summer Neil and I were blessed to have a visit by my sister-in-law, her grown daughter and son along with her son’s wife and their child. We haven’t seen them in way too many years. It was too large of a group for our little vacation cottage so they stayed at one of our local motels and were only in Ocean City for 3 days.
Now that the children are fully grown with careers of their own, they are such fascinating adults that I wanted to spend hours with each of them to hear about their jobs, their lives, and anything at all that they would share. But like the earlier holidays, now with the toddler, it was way too much hustle and bustle to have any type of a lengthy conversations so I am praying each of them will come back on their own to visit.
What a pleasure it is to see what my brother cannot see – that his family is thriving and growing and being very productive citizens.
My only sadness is that my brother did not raise his family to cherish the Lord. I love this family with all my heart, and I so want them to know my Lord and Savior Jesus. But, again, other than heartfelt prayers before dinners there was no time for a discussion of faith.
So, what am I to do? I pray. I pray and I ask others to pray. I pray that God will send Christians who will be influential into their lives. I pray that Jesus will make them hungry for more – not more worldly things but more of the unworldly spiritual things of Jesus. I pray that the harvesters will be there when and if the field is ready but in the meantime, I pray for seed sowers.
Are we all sowing the seeds of our faith? Are we intentionally touching others’ lives with our love of Jesus? This is so necessary when many of us live far away from our families. Other Christians are praying for their siblings, nieces, and nephews that are in my neighborhood and they are praying that someone here is planting seeds in those lives. Neil and I want to be the answer to those prayers.
If our faith is real to us, we must share it. If we believe that heaven and hell are real then we surely want our loved ones with us in heaven. The time is nearer every day to when our Lord will return. When presented with the opportunity to talk to a lost soul we can ask Jesus for the right words and the right timing. This is a matter with eternal consequences.
Marge, a dear friend of ours became quite the sweet evangelist in her golden years. She relayed to us one day of how she witnessed to a young man that had hit her car. When he didn’t get out of his vehicle she was concerned and made her way over to check on him. He told her he was fine so that was when she asked him if he knew Jesus. She explained that this was a very important decision because he could have died that day.
I pray my heart always be willing to follow Marge’s faithfulness to God’s command that no matter the circumstances I will share about Jesus whenever God places the opportunity before me. Everyone should have the opportunity to know Jesus.
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com