Pastor Joe Miller IV
If I had to choose one person in my life that showed me more grace, mercy, patience, and love than anyone else it would be my mom. More than my dad, wife, children, brother, sister, and friends. Nobody loved me more on this earth than my mother. It has been 15 years since she has gone to be with the Lord, but I can still feel her presence every day. I can still hear her singing "How Great Thou Art" and feel her standing next to me at church. I have a letter from her and her picture hanging next to my desk, and I can hear her voice every time I read her letter to me. I had the opportunity to be the speaker at her funeral, and it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. At the same time, it was one of the most honorable things I have ever done. I wrestled on what to say, battling passages of scripture back-and-forth in my mind, but then I thought what words would mom want to leave us with, and it hit me (like mom’s loving backhand when I got out of line,)
1 Peter 4:7-8, "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
The words in these two verses sum up a lot of what Peter learned by walking with Jesus, by being influenced by Jesus, and concluding his experiences with Him. It’s these thoughts and challenges my mom would leave with me, and I with you. I’m not much for creating different points in a passage to teach it; I like to put it all together like a good stew and eat it, but I see four distinct principles to share.
1. "But the end of all things is at hand." I turned 58 years old last week; my dad passed away at 59. Time has become a sensitive issue with me. It was with Peter and it should be with you. You can’t stop time, you can’t even slow it down. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t put a value on it, and I am not promised another second, so I don’t want to waste it!
2. The brevity of life should cause us to be ‘sober-minded.’ I’m not saying don’t have fun, don’t laugh or carry-on. You know me, I love to have fun, be sarcastic, and push the envelope. But I have a saying from my grandma that puts this in perspective, "One life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last."
3. "Watch unto prayer." Live your life holding hands with God. As much as my mom loved and knew me, her love couldn’t be compared to the love of God for me. He, being the Creator, knew me and knows me at a way deeper level than my mom or anyone else ever could. I would say that makes God my greatest source of wisdom, comfort, and perspective. Get close to Him and spend time with Him.
4. See verse eight. More important than anything - top priority - have an intense continual love amongst yourselves, because love covers over the multitude of times that we put our self-interest above other people. The “multitude” is important. It indicates it’s happening now and it (self-centeredness) happens a lot. Opinions over people. The older I get, the less time I have, but I am getting a better perspective of the love that my mom showed me and that God shows me. I now try to look at my brother and sister through the loving eyes of my mom, and I try to look at all people through the loving eyes of Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” See also Hebrews 6:9-10.
Let me add this, it is not us being perfect people that keeps us together and united to bring glory to God. It is the grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love for each other that bonds us together putting a smile on God’s face.