Giving one’s life
Posted on February 26, 2013 by VMMissions Staff
During our Christmas holidays my five year old granddaughter came to me and said, “Do you know what, Grandpa? I gave my heart to Jesus.”
Bless that little heart! She told her mother, “When Jesus knocks, you must let him in!” I was much older when I accepted Jesus. I was all of eleven! I doubt if my granddaughter knows much more than I did at that time, but still, it’s a start. I could tell her that much will happen in the decades to come to fill in the empty pages of a life given to God. My granddaughter will learn that in time.
Lives given to God
Two couples illustrate this like no others in the history of Virginia Mennonite Missions. Willlard and Eva Eberly have served in, and on behalf of Italy since 1969. Richard and Martha Keeler went to Trinidad in 1971. After Martha’s death Margaret joined Richard until both the Keelers and the Eberlys retired this past year. Both the Keelers and the Eberlys have taken breaks along the way, but not breaks from God’s service, and never far from the call and passion that guided their lives, serving another people in another country while inviting others to follow Jesus.
Few people have given their lives with such singular commitment to one place and people. Much more common among us is the practice of committing ourselves a year or two at a time, here and there. As we get a bit older, make that five or ten years at a time. And too, the more common theme is our own life’s journey. Our search is for that which is life-giving, for ourselves. Unusual are the folks who truly give their lives away, who give their entire lives in service to God. Perhaps only then do we truly discover what Jesus predicted, that part about losing one’s life to find it.
On a recent visit to Italy I was reminded of other lives lived for God. Francesco and Martha Picone may be less visible to us, but no less important to God’s work. Nearly 40 years ago Francesco and Martha Picone committed themselves to God’s service in Palermo. Still there 40 years later, they help give leadership to a group of congregations in Sicily, extending the example and invitation to give one’s life to God.
None of these mentioned have given their entire lives. They still have a portion of their lives ahead of them, and we trust it will be long and fruitful. All however give testimony to the worthiness of giving one’s life for God. They have not held back, given up, quit, or gone home. Would that many others follow!