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Virginia Brandt Berg's Meditation Moments


Virginia Brandt Berg (1898-1968)

"OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES"

Meditation Moments 124:

When I was with my husband during his declining time when he was ill, I would visit him at the hospital, and I would watch those dear lives there in the waiting rooms, and those in the their beds. I would think of the all the suffering, the human suffering. Some of those dear ones, especially the very aged, lie there day after day, and it went into weeks after awhile. For a month I visited the hospital, and no one ever came to see them. I'd look into some of those poor drawn faces, their children never cared enough to come. And then I'd see them draw the curtain about a life, and after awhile that bed was empty -- but nobody ever came. It was all too much for the Chaplain whom I got to know quite well.

Then I would look out through the windows of the tall hospital, out to the highway where cars were rushing back and forth, and I would think about poor lost humanity -- so many who are sorrowing, so many with broken hearts. How much they need the Father's mercy, and how much the Lord needs us, as lower lights, to keep burning. There in the hospital this hymn would come to me, which I would sing sometimes to my husband, sitting at his bedside:

"Brightly beams our Father's mercy
From His Lighthouse ever more,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
"Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.
"Trim your feeble lamp, my brother,
Some poor sailor, tempest tossed
Is trying now to make the harbor,
And in darkness may be lost.
"Some poor fainting, struggling seaman,
You may rescue, you may save.
Let the lower lights be burning,
Send a gleam across the wave."

That wonderful old song coming to my heart made me long so sometimes that people would catch a vision of service for others. "When the Son of man shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the World:

"'For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.'

"Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? Or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?'

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.'" -- Mat.25:31-40.

God has entrusted us with some sacred responsibilities, certain things which have to have the first attention in life. Lots of things are demanding our attention, so many things are happening on the stage of life today. The calls are multitudinous, and there is so little time for them in the mighty rush of time.

We have to face the issue, of what is the greatest outstanding purpose of life. God's Word tells us that, first of all, it's to work out our own salvation. -- Phil.2:12. But after that it is the salvation of those around us, the furtherance of God's Kingdom. These are the sacred trusts and they have to be put in the rightful place.

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God." -- Mat.6:33a. Oh, how trite that may sound to us, we hear it so many times. But the first things for us as Christians are those which are eternal, not temporal. But so often God is set aside and the merest trifles are attended to before those two outstanding purposes in life: Your own salvation and the care of the souls about you.

These two great realities of life are eternal purposes, but so often they're set in a secondary place. As someone aptly put it: There's a misplaced attention, a false priority. The emphasis in life is put in the wrong place.

There was an older woman from Valparaiso, Indiana, who took a trip from Valparaiso to Chicago, Illinois, which was arranged by the president of Valparaiso, as she had always wanted to take that trip. Afterwards, the conductor related that during the trip, the woman, fussed with her handbag and her little satchel all the way to Chicago, trying to arrange things -- adjusting a little pillow she had brought along for her back, and fussing about, never looking out at the scenery. She had always talked about wanting to see what it looked like on the road between Valparaiso and Chicago, and the president of Valparaiso had tired to meet the desire of her heart.

But she didn't deal with the main purpose of her trip at all. She forgot what it was all about and just fooled around with those little, inconsequential things. It was a misplaced attention, a false priority. The emphasis was in the wrong place. If we think temporal things have not had priority in our lives, quietly and sincerely, perhaps we ought to go over the past month, the past week, and meditate on how much of the temporal rather than the eternal has occupied our time and thought.

We sing we are pilgrims and strangers in this World, but I tell you, beloved, we don't act like it a great deal. No man is a great man, no woman is a great woman, unless they have a sense of values. If we keep from doing the better thing because we're so occupied with things that are so secondary, then God's going to have to judge us. That's what the Scripture is about, He said, "I was sick, and ye visited Me not." -- Mat.25:43b.

There are great possibilities in your life, there's such promise in your life, and you have all the resources of Heaven at your command. What a blessing and joy you could be in your neighbor. We're going to have to give an account of what we might have been, because God's going to judge us by what we might have been. He's going to judge us by the life that we might have lived.

God's going to ask some day, "What kept you from doing these things? What kept you from these things which should have been put first?" The World is so full of opportunity, and eternal things are calling so loudly today. The need is so very desperate.

We are the lights along the shore, Christians are the lower lights. The Upper Lights up There are God, His Son -- Jesus -- and the Holy Spirit, but we are the lower lights. Nobody else is going to tell them if we don't. No one else will call on the sick and those in prison and give them clothing if we don't.

A man came to our door the other day, was brought by for us to talk to by someone who picked him up on the highway. He was 60 years old and no one had ever presented him with the plan of Salvation, no one had ever talked to him about Jesus.

If we fail in the supreme task of life and make others shipwreck of the great purpose of life, which is our salvation and then the salvation of others, and we come to the end of the road and offer God trifles instead of the great immortal purpose of life, what is our judgment going to be?

We have at our command the remedy for all the World's ills, the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Lord, forgive us and cleanse our hearts from adversities which cause us to accept secondary things and which keep us from fulfilling our mission in life.

Your attitude may be. "Let the World and need be forgotten. Let someone else win the lost souls and the millions starving for the Light. Let them starve, it isn't my business. Little children in cruelty and darkness -- let come mighty issues, let come death, let come judgment. I'm occupied with things of self and things that please me to do." God help us and forgive us and cleanse us from all this, in Jesus' name! Any door of service for the Lord is a great service. God bless and keep you. He's still on the Throne and prayer will change things for you.

Copyright © 2009 by The Family International

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James Arendt
James Arendt

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