2 Timothy 2: 1-7 (NKJV) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
This was the verse the minister used at my grandfather’s funeral this past week. He grew up in Cooperstown, New York. His father was a farmer. His home was just blocks away from the Baseball Hall of Fame. My grandfather enlisted in the army and made his way to the rank of Command Sargent Major, the highest ranking of the enlisted soldiers. He also earned a spot in the elite, the Green Beret. I could see all of these qualities in why the minister would use this verse.
When my mom left my dad (it was what really needed to happen, no woman should stay in abuse out of fear), she had no where to go. She had three girls under the age of five. My grandparents took us in. My aunt was a teenager in high school at that time. My grandmother worked at a Family Dollar and my grandfather worked in the boiler room of the plant at night. Here they were giving my mom a new start.
“Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.“2 Timothy 2:1
As I look back, my grandparents did not have a lot of money. They did not lavish us with gifts. They did lavish us with their time. I have so many wonderful memories of the time we spent with them. Yes, they disciplined us. No, they did not spoil us. They did spend time with us and help raise us. We were living there when I went for my first day of Kindergarten. My grandfather took me on my first date to see “Pinocchio” at the theater downtown.
Friends were always welcome to come over. The neighborhood kids knew who my grandparents were. My elementary school friends remember coming over and playing in their pool. It was a sad day for us when the house was sold a year ago. We can hold onto the memories though.
I am reading Bob Goff’s book Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It. There is a section in the book that says, “availability is your secret weapon.” He writes, “Being available isn’t about giving yourself away recklessly or wearing yourself down to the point where you have no energy to do your own work. It’s about keeping yourself open to the world around you so you don’t fall back asleep.” This was perfect for me to read because fighting the slumber is a real battle. I like routines. It is part of my comfort. However, having a routine can make some seem unavailable. I want to be more available to opportunities and to people this year. This book reminded me that Jesus did not hide from people. Rejection and insecurities have made it okay for me to hide. I do not want to hide anymore. Time is the most valuable gift you can give people. Be true during the time you give. Do not expect anything in return. Use it to build others up. Be bold and courageous, even when you make yourself available.