My dad used to say that we all have a terminal disease…
Then he would quote from “Hud” (one of his favorite movies).
“You can’t get out of life alive…”
My dad had a unique perspective that most don’t get to experience, though. He had ALS, better known as Lou Gherig‘s Disease. It’s a terminal disease caused by an over-production of cells in the body. The spinal cord begins to harden… The nerves die off, and the muscles atrophy. It’s horrific and sad.
We all saw this as terrible. This poor man, this ex-athlete was dying quickly and painfully. My dad saw it as an opportunity.
Faced with a new reality, he took the time he had left… and used it the best he knew how. He talked about perspective.
“Why can’t I walk, God… And why can’t I play?
And wrestle the kids at the end of each day?
Why can’t it be like it always was before?
Why can’t I play tennis, or run anymore?
I don’t understand, God, and the price is too steep…
And the echo came back ‘Just go feed My sheep…’”
That was his charge. It became obviously clear that there was work to be done, and he was running out of time. So he spoke at churches, at youth rallies, at FCA events…etc. He took every minute he could effectively use to tell others about God. You see, he knew he was dying. He wanted us to know that we are too… “You can’t get out of life alive…”
Calling a volunteer to the front of the room, he would give them a glass. After filling it about 1/4 of the way with water, he asked the room…
“Has this glass reached its potential?”
“NO” they would say… So he filled it a little more than half-way, and asked the same question. “NO”.
He then began to fill it until it started to spill over the rim of the glass and get on the volunteer’s hands. “NOW… has this glass reached its potential?” …. “YES!”
“WRONG” he would say. “…it’s reached its CAPACITY. This glass has the potential to give water to someone dying of thirst, to water a garden that will produce crops, to put out fire… To do so much more than our imagination can fathom”.
“Easy for You, God… You’re a shepherd by trade
Just a rod and a staff, and You’ve got it made
‘You seem to forget that I was also a sheep…
A sacrificed lamb… The Cross, too, is steep.
And all that I ask for your role to be
Is when people see you… they also see me.
Because, Bob, we’re together while climbing this hill
We’re living each day… seeking God’s will.
A miracle is happening, and joy follows sorrow,
But we need a perfect vantage point from which we see tomorrow…’”
You see… My dad had the unique perspective of knowing his capacity for living was just about up. His time to do what God had asked him to do with his life was about to expire. But he knew that his potential to be used to do great things was far from over. After all… He passed away almost 24 years ago, but the message God gave him is still being poured out today.
Don’t waste your potential! Use what God has given you today to do what He has asked, and He will use it to do things that you can’t even imagine. Don’t be fooled by the limits of your capacity.
“‘Your weakness makes me stronger, and My strength is all we need.
By My stripes You’re healed already… So let’s find a flock to feed.’”
We all have a terminal disease… Use it.
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