It’s cold outside. I just thought you should know that. I’m aware that many of my U.S. Friends are already experiencing snow. It’s rather early for that. Brr… It’s not that bad here in Buckie. Sure the temps are in the 30s, and there’s been a lot of frost early in the mornings, but we’ve not had any real snow. We had some sleet and snow early this week, but it was much worse in the mountains. They are snow capped. Again, I know many of you had a very long hot summer, now winter has come early. That’s wild. It’s no wonder that so many people like to talk about Climate Change rather than Global Warming. But I digress. You are listening to the ReDiscovering the Bible online radio show. My name is Sam Burton, and I’m your host.
Whether you’re a brand new visitor, or a long time listener, I am so glad you stopped by. Thank you so much. Please tell a friend, or 10 about the show. You are awesome.
Listen, I’m calling an audible today. I’m changing up just a bit. And I’m doing it for a couple of reasons. Those of you who are regular listeners know a couple things about ReDiscovering the Bible. You know that we’ve been going through the Bible, looking at the Books, discovering who wrote them, to whom and why. We are taking a very general overview. I’m trying to help you read the Bible for yourself, rather than explaining all of it. And I’m supposed to get with you every week. I’ve failed repeatedly at that. Mostly it’s the time of year. Some call it Christmas, or “the Holidays”. But I also bit off a rather big mouthful by starting back to school to earn my Doctorate degree. What a silly time of year to do that. Some things have taken a hit. This show is one of them. For that I do apologize, but I’m also letting you know that until I get this finished, you should look for every other week rather than every week. I don’t want to stop this program until I get finished with my doctorate, That would be counter productive. But I do want to be honest. So, for the time being, I’ll probably produce something every other week.
Now, the second audible is, we were going to look at three books of the Old Testament today, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But something happened yesterday that has really affected me, and I want to share my thoughts about it with you.
Yesterday morning, I got a text from a good friend of ours in Maine. She told me that a mutual friend of ours, a chap I used to work with, had died. I was devastated. William was one of the best managers I’ve ever known. He genuinely cared about his team. Every spring, at the end of April, we had to let about 50 people go. It was a seasonal business. We ramped up every year from late autumn till mid april, then we had to let a bunch go. It was just the nature of things. William studied his daily reports and tried to find a way to keep as many people employed as possible. He hated to let anyone go. He wouldn’t sleep for a week. His team meant that much to him.
And they knew it. There are all kinds of people discussing him, his life, and his funeral arrangements online. Everyone is in shock. Totally stunned.
I haven’t seen him in ten years. The company was sold. I was kept on and transferred to GA. William, for family reasons, came to GA for 6 months, but went back to Maine in the spring of 2009. He came to my office, we shared some coffee and memories, and he left. That’s it. I never saw him again.
I’m sad about that. I’ve been way too guilty of kind of forgetting about people from my past, including people who meant a great deal to me.
I had a friend, Robert, from Indiana, who followed me as youth minister in KY, when I first came to Scotland, back in 1980. Robert came in 82 and lived with me for 6 months, then returned to the states to raise money to come back full time as minister here. He lived with me another 6 months, then found a place to live. We had many adventures together over the years. We went to Germany to a conference I was preaching in. That was tons of fun. He was one of two friends who was with me on my first preaching trip to Northern Ireland. He was in the car when I got arrested for being somewhere I shouldn’t be, and taking photos of the British army. It’s a long story, I’ll save it for some other time.
When I was returning to the States in 93, Robert came to my home to tell me he was going back to the States as well. He returned to Indiana. I went to Florida. I never saw him again. Robert died in 2015.
William and Robert are just two examples of a personality flaw I have. I’m really terrible at staying in touch with the people that matter. Sure, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help, but there are so many people I have neglected over the years. Even the Churches here in Buckie, The one I planted in Forres, and in Cumbernauld, I simply ignored. So many people I cared about have long since passed on, and I was blissfully unaware.
I have friends from High School, and college, who mattered a great deal to me, that I couldn’t tell you what’s happened to them. Except when I get a notice that they have passed away. I look back on the people I worked with in Florida, who I served as minister to in Iowa, Argentina, Kentucky, and Maine.
I’ve got a friend, right here in Scotland, that I’ve only seen once in 2.5 years. He lives about 40 minutes away from me. He was the first Christian in the Forres Church. We used to have our Bible Studies in his house. I talk to his wife via Facebook, but I’ve really neglected Mike. I’m a real slob of a friend, sometimes.
I really want to do better. I want to be better. Some of the people from my past have died without knowing Jesus as their savior. I certainly know I spoke with each of them about Jesus, but I truly hurt, when I think about people who enter eternity alone.
Please, if you have been neglectful, like I have been, I encourage you to make a fresh start. Again, the internet is a great tool for using to reaquaint ourselves with people from our past.
And, on a related note, none of us knows if we will even have a tomorrow. Make the most of today. If you need to talk to someone, do it. If you need to visit some place, go there. Regrets are terrible monsters. Read that book you’ve always wondered about. See that film, or play. Go to that concert. Try on that dress. Taste that food. You have today. Make the most of it.
I also want you to consider Jesus. Do not permit your life to end, without investigating His claims. He really died for you. But more than that. He rose again, three days later. Jesus is the Man who is God. He is the God who became Man. He loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to give you the chance to start over. He wants to forgive you. He wants to give you eternal life. Guaranteed.
Just this morning I was reading something really neat in the Gospel of Matthew. This is in Chapter 20, if you want to read it for yourself, and I hope you will. But Jesus is telling a story to the people. He talks about a wealthy land owner who hires a bunch of people to work for him in the fields. He goes back at 9 in the morning, and hires some more. Then he is out and about near the end of the day, and sees a bunch of people milling about, and offers them a job too. At the end of the day, he pays the last hired the same amount as the people who had worked all day.
That is the best news. All of us get the same heaven. Some of us, like me, have been in the Kingdom all day long. I was 9 years old when I first followed Jesus. I don’t regret it at all. But many people don’t follow him until late in the day. I saw an article online about a woman, 100 years old, who decided to follow Jesus. I saw a photo of her being baptized. That was awesome to me. And, if you’ve read the Gospels, you’ve read about one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus who said to Jesus, “Please remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus said, “TODAY. You will be with me in paradise.”
It’s never too late. As long as you’ve got your wits about you, and breath in your body, you can receive Him as your Lord, and He will accept you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. How much, or How little. Just don’t keep saying tomorrow. Because you don’t know if your tomorrow will come.