When former US President Ronald Reagan was a boy, his aunt took him to a cobbler to get a pair of shoes. He struggled to choose between a shoe with square toes or one with round toes. After a few days, he still had not made up his mind.
When the shoes finally came, one had square, and the other had round toes. That taught him a lesson about early decision-making. So when do you think is the best time to begin loving and serving God faithfully? Is it when you are young, strong, and active (Gen 4:4; 5:22; 1Sam 2:26; Dan 10:11; 2Tim 3:15)? Or when you are advanced in age and getting ready to die (Dan 4:33-7; Acts 10:1-48; 16:27)? (We are considering Eccl. 12:1 & Ezek 33:11)
First, your background and orientation – your experiences while growing up, your school and family’s religious activities, even how much you know about God and His ways can all indluence you. Second, the way you see yourself – as kind, gentle, firm, hard, handsome, beautiful, wise, foolish, ok, or not ok, forgiving, incorrigible, etc., etc. all can influence you too. Some of these ways of thinking impact how quickly we begin loving and serving God. Many people worry that God considers these things when He’s choosing His friends, so they are slow to accept God’s call. They want to wait and see His sign of acceptance first. But John chapter three, verse sixteen, clarifies that this is not even near the truth.
History records that when God approves of a person, He often shows it in straightforward ways. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov. 16:7). In other words, the person focuses on pleasing God while God also focuses on sorting the person out. Wouldn’t you say this arrangement is neat?
David was relatively young when he began a serious relationship with God. However, though he messed up, God forgave him and finally called him His man because he humbled himself (1Kings 14:8; Acts 13:22). Abraham, too was relatively young when God called him. He also made some mistakes but focused on pleasing God. God actually called him His friend (2Chron 20:7; James 2:23). All these people served God amongst family and friends, even enemies. They did not try to hide somewhere in order not to be contaminated by other people. They just loved and kept loving God the more.
Today, God is still in that business. The latest evidence of His approval that I saw was at a funeral I attended recently. It was a large gathering with important community and political leaders attended. As usual, people said nice things about the dead clergyman. By 1 pm, the young pall-bearers lifted the casket. Suddenly, the sun, shining brightly, was covered by a thick white cloud that darkened it. Then gently, carefully, a beautiful, glorious rainbow unwrapped itself around the whole sun. I have never seen this before or since. I know what you are thinking – that this could be a natural occurrence. Well, for me, that was a clear sign that God approved of him. That all the prettified, splendid tributes were quite genuine. Instinctively, I wished that God would also show His favour when my time came.
I thought about Proverbs 14:32, and I said to myself, “If you want that, then you would have to live out the life that God can approve”. Are you old enough? Or are you young enough? How long can a person dilly and dally before giving their life totally to Jesus? How about NOW?