Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
~quote possibly derived from John Wesley’s sermons
I ran across this quotation in my Instagram feed Saturday night, and it came to mind the next morning when my pastor shared his opinion that Jesus' return was right around the corner.
If I knew I had a week left, that either Jesus was coming or I was going to die, how would I live?
My first thought is that I would share the Gospel with every single unbeliever I know. So why don’t I do that now? Probably because I have things flipped upside down. Unlike how Psalm 29 describes “the God of glory,” I usually picture the Lord as smaller than He is and my own ego and comfort level as more important. Sometimes I wonder if I should get Memento Mori (Latin for “Remember that you must die”) tattooed on my wrist as a reminder. That may sound morbid, but I know that because I know Jesus, it will be like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. And I certainly don’t want to remain a caterpillar for all eternity.
I think the quote above is a healthy reaction to loving Jesus back. Not just checking obedience boxes from fear of punishment, but following what Jesus says is the most important:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
And with all your soul
And with all your mind
And with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment
Greater than these.”
But of course, I’m too fearful, too proud, too stubborn, too lazy, to live like that. So I settle for box-checking. But wait! I’m forgetting what happened at Pentecost. I’m forgetting that this humble little caterpillar has been infused, forever, with the third member of the Trinity. Not an impersonal Star Wars-like force, as I used to picture Him as a child, but Jesus’s spirit, the reason that Jesus tells His disciples before His ascension: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Getting into the flow, so to speak, with the Holy Spirit will feel like this sometimes:
But we are still on this earth for a reason. Maybe we have more work to do or maybe our stubborn character needs much longer to develop. (Probably both!) But being Jesus’ physical body in the world is what we are called to do. We’re going to die anyway, so we may as well let the Holy Spirit secure the lap belt, take our hand, and bring us along on the wonderful, beautiful, soul-saving work God is doing all over the planet.
And it starts with an open-ended prayer:
“Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
And then we wait and listen. Every day. Knowing that our calendar and the Holy Spirit’s calendar won’t always match, but we are prepared to obey anyway. Because we are His.
We belong to the God of glory.