Toothbrush Mentality

I have not had the opportunity to share my testimony with any of you and one day I hope the Lord provides that in the proper context of a comfy chair, a cuppa sumpin, fuzzy slippers, and a warm lap blanket (Can you tell that it’s cold here?). Until then you’ll have to make do with putting little puzzle pieces together as I share them with you. This will be one of those pieces.

So…my son got sick. He was three. He had cancer. I freaked. You can fill in the blanks. Sitting at my dinner table the night before his first surgery I bargained with God and told Him that if He saved my son I would do anything He asked. I was not a believer.

(Allowing a short pause here for you to absorb the absurdity and ponder the potential to the accompaniment of dramatic movie music in your head.)

Enter three crazy women who were meeting together for Bible study in the basement of one of their homes. They invited me to join them. What was I to do? My son’s life was hanging in the balance! (Insert another pause for absurdity.) I didn’t know whether to show up with a casserole dish or what – I’d been to church, you know! And I wasn’t really sure if I even had a Bible. I certainly knew that I did not want to drive across town after a long day of work to some church lady’s house, ring the bell, and stand on her doorstep empty handed only to be lured to her basement to talk about Jesus. Golly day! What had I done!?

Now, please know that I love these women for being the tools that God used to bring me home. But let me assure you that not all of them were believers in Christ. Let’s just say that our discussion time through “The Power of a Praying Wife” was not always what one would describe as Godly. Or holy. And some of what I heard there was…um…new information for me. It was often impossible for me to distinguish between the BS (pardon the crudeness) and the truth. But there was enough there to feed the fire that God had started in my soul. One night during our discussion time, our hostess made the comment that she used to be content just knowing that she was “in” (I didn’t know that you could actually know that.). She said that she used to tell herself that it would be enough to just be “there” (heaven) even if all she got to do was scrub the streets of gold with a toothbrush (I didn’t know we would actually be doing stuff there.)  As I pondered her thoughts, I decided that I agreed. After all, scrubbing the heavenly toilets would be more than I deserved. But she went on to say that her perspective on that had changed and that if there was more for her, she wanted it all. I thought that was very brazen! With a little chutzpah. And no shortage of greed. Still, among everything I heard during that year with those crazy women, that alone has stuck.

I’m just now getting around to watching the videos from the Verse by Verse International Conference “Growing in Grace and Truth” where Pastor Armstrong teaches on the value of time in the word, and keeping an eternal perspective. At least that’s what I heard. And I thought to myself that it’s time to grow up in my “toothbrush” mentality. Christ wants more for me than to just be glad to have gotten “in”. He actually wants me to have something there waiting for me. I’ve never cared much about what was waiting there. There is not here and that is surely enough of a reward! Bless it!  Now I know that I actually have a responsibility to add something to my eternal-reward tally sheet. Something that will survive the test. Something to offer back to Him in gratitude for what He’s done. Something that demonstrates my understanding of the value and purpose of the life He saved – mine – and that this life belongs to Him, not to me. Christ did not save me so that I could bide my time through this life, only to grovel in the next one, toothbrush in hand. That is a complete waste of my eternity and an affront to the price that was paid to redeem it to His purpose.  Brazen? You bet. Chutzpah required? Absolutely. Greedy? No shortage there. I want it all, poured out, pressed down, shaken together and running over! Whatever “that” is, it sounds pretty good to me (I’m imagining the banquet… you had to know that!!). 

Some things I’m sure of: that the Lord expects my obedience, that I want to be caught doing good when He returns, that I want to have invested my gifts and received interest on that investment, that I need to be faithful in the small things first. Other things are, thankfully, hidden from my view until such time as He reveals His plans for me. Either way, however, if I hold on to my “toothbrush” mentality, I’m not going to be very effective in my ministry on this earth, now am I? I won’t be rewarded for doing what I know to do, nor will I be prepared to accept the next task that comes my way. Here’s to laying down the brush, friends! Let’s get up off our spiritual knees and start living with purpose, like someone bought us, owns us, loves us, is coming to get us, and wants to lavish heavenly blessing on us if we will only walk around with eternity in our hearts, on our minds, and leaving our lips.

(Nota Bene: Notice that nowhere, and at no time during this article did I discuss salvation being the result of good works. No, indeed, dear reader, I did not. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. Period. The end. What I’m talking about is REWARDS!! Yes, friend, there are PRIZES!! The Lord knows how to give good gifts to His children and the reward for our earthly labor is assured. Go out and get it! It’s alright, really. He said so. See 1 Corinthians 3, and stay tuned for my next article!)