“I have learned to enjoy the things that I can do here that I won’t be doing in heaven.” It’s not an exact quote, but it’s close and it’s what I have been thinking about today. Today I don’t feel very good. I just feel tired and a little run down. Seems the rain brought with it an influx of allergens that know exactly where I am weak. But last Wednesday I heard from someone who fells worse than I do today. Dr. Strauss and his wife Marcia came to my Spiritual Life class at DTS. Dr. Strauss has cancer, and not the kind that rudely interrupts your life for a while before you can get back to normal. He has pancreatic cancer – the mean kind that doesn’t like to leave you alone. The day he and his wife spoke to our class was the first day of his second round of chemo, this alone was impressive to me. The Strauss’s came to talk about suffering and spiritual life. They were there to talk to us as people who were more than acquaintances with pain, both physical and emotional, they were there as people who know pain well. Suffering is somewhat of a constant companion in their life, it’s the context for their days.
During their time with us the Strauss’s said so many things I would love to talk about. Dr. Strauss spoke of the vividness of heaven and Marcia of the fears of losing a spouse (at which point the tears I had been holding back promptly compromised the invisible wall and became silent streams instead of stagnant puddles). It was the kind of honest conversation that leaves you feeling raw the rest of the day. But in all of this Dr. Strauss said something I hand’t thought about before. He said that knowing he may have very limited time here on this earth before he goes to heaven it has given him a strong desire to do the things he can only do here. Dr. Strauss mentioned two things specifically. The first is intercessory prayer. He said that he doesn’t know for sure that we won’t be praying for others while we are in heaven but that will not be our focus. The other thing he mentioned was evangelizing. You aren’t going to meet anybody in heaven who hasn’t heard of Jesus. There are things we get to do here we don’t get to do in heaven.
Prayer and evangelism are privileges we have here on earth. I only have so long to beg the Lord to draw my husband and my friends and family closer to him. There are a certain amount of days left for me to ask God to heal sickness and hurt. An end is waiting to the moments where I can ask to see him save many people in my city many in places I may never see. My days are numbered indeed and therefore my prayers for other people. When I chose to wait to pray I choose to forgo a privilege, one that makes me apart of the very work of Gods hands. I want to be apart of what God’s doing now. I want to exercise my privilege often.
And I don’t know if you are like me but it seems that my future holds an innumerable amount of opportunities to tell people about the Jesus who made a way for them to be saved from certain judgment and free from the authority of sin in their life, reconciled to the one who created all things. I feel that tomorrow is a great time to evangelize. Today doesn’t often seem to be the best time. Today is inconvenient. Today is awkward. Today evangalism isn’t going to happen. In my rationalizations tomorrows are always waiting for me. But tomorrows won’t always be patiently waiting to turn into today. My tomorrows are limited.
Jesus lived knowing his tomorrows were limited. His life was saturated with prayer, it was a priority. Jesus didn’t wait for opportunities to share his message, he found them every where. He even made moments that looked just like another boat ride or fishing trip or meal into moments for faith. He took full advantage of the the privileges we have while we are here. I want to do the same. Today I want to pray and I want to evangelize because my tomorrow may not be waiting and when they run out so do these privileges.