I May Never Pass This Way Again

Published 2:03 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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By MICHAEL J. BROOKS | Guest Columnist

A denominational meeting took me to Decatur and Huntsville recently. We lived in Decatur 25 years ago before taking a career move to academia.

The area has grown. Though many areas looked recognizable, such as the house where we used to live, so much of the city was unrecognizable.

Facebook helped me remember being in Huntsville five years ago for another denominational gathering. I had someone take a picture of me and four college friends at the meeting, so this was a “memory” that appeared on the page. But I think the last time I was in Decatur was to assist with a funeral some 20 years ago or more.

I’ve had several thoughts, or “musings,” as Dr. Birx described the speech of former President Trump. “He just says what he thinks; it’s musing,” she said.

I thought of good work I was able to do. We believers know that what we do for Christ has eternal consequence. And what we do might not seem monumental at the time: a word of encouragement, a visit with a lonely senior adult, speaking a word of truth from God’s word or a prayer with the dying.

But I also thought of failures. I’ve made my share in ministry. We older ministers joke among ourselves about being “seasoned” in ministry. This comes about because of the mistakes we made!

No Christian is “ten feet tall and bullet proof” as Travis Tritt sang. Every failure should tender our hearts for others who struggle (and I surmise that’s most of us). Our stumbles can bring about the compulsion to reach out to others in their discouragement and offer words of hope.

Another thought I’ve had is that I may never have opportunity to be in those places again. My work is in the Birmingham area and that’s primary. I may never have occasion again to be in places I’ve lived and served. There might be no reason to go, or work might keep me busy or death may come. No one knows the day nor the hour when the death angel will stand before us.

Quaker missionary Etienne de Grellet wrote the famous lines, “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Today is a God-given opportunity to do good—to “let our light shine” as Jesus said.

But today is also a time to refresh ourselves in God’s mercy. He promises “forgetfulness” when we come to him in repentance to ask his forgiveness for wrong choices we made yesterday. -30-

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster, Ala. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.