Signs of Life

The term “signs of life” means different things to different groups of people. To an astrophysicist, it means the possibility of life on another planet.  To a sports team beginning to rise up and make a comeback, it means there is a renewed effort of effectiveness just recently. To a financial agent, those words might mean the beginnings of a bull market. To a doctor in an emergency room, it may literally mean indictors that the patient is still alive.

When Michal and I had our five “bairns about us” in the home, there were signs of life everywhere. There was the full dinner table. There were the incessant loads of washing day after day. There was the “mess” that seven people living in a modestly sized home makes. There were age-appropriate toys seeming always strewn about. Oh, and the noise! As the kids got older, the toys changed a bit, but they were still there. There was the always annoying “something” left out in the grass that would necessitate me getting off the mower and removing it.  So really, during those days, every sign of life incumbent to an active family, was present in our home.

Then, all of sudden, it ended.  No more toys strewn. Laundry was greatly reduced. Meals for two became the thing. Making meals out of leftovers became an artform.  Certain parts of the house were left unused. The house was always “picked up”. Often, I would be in the house alone which was rarely the case for 30 years. Many of the signs of life were gone. And I hated it.

Today, we have some renewed signs of life. Virtually every Sunday after church, the families of four of our children gather at our house for a family dinner. When all are there, we number 18 and when Evan and Jena come up from Louisville, we number 22.  The house again comes alive with signs of life. Toys once again are strewn about. Books the grands want read to them are pulled out of the cabinet in our living room and scattered hither and yon. Signs of life.

Now, before they leave, the parents instruct their kids to “pick- up” and put away everything, and they do, at least as well as their youthful awareness will allow.  What that leaves are the stray toys and little treasures the grands “missed” in their pick-up.  Michal will almost invariably find something that was missed and place it on the mantel to be returned next Sunday or later in the week if they come by. The “main play area” is downstairs in our finished basement where Ama’s treasure trove of toys is kept. Thus, the kids are down there a lot, especially during cold or inclement weather.  On Mondays, when I go down to exercise, I’ll take a towel into the bathroom for my shower after my workout.  On most Mondays I will notice that the toilet was left unflushed and with a smile on my face, I will flush it. In mentioning this to Michal she said, “I’ll have to remember to check that when they leave on Sunday afternoon.” I replied, “No, don’t, I like doing it… it reminds me that my grands have been here.” Signs of life.

Well, as a pastor, I’m always looking for signs of life as well. I’m looking for signs of spiritual life in people who profess to know and love Jesus.  That is because the Bible indicates that there are certain characteristics that will be true of those who are genuinely redeemed and when I see some of those characteristics wanting or waning, I become concerned.  An entire book, 1 John, was written to enumerate the “signs of spiritual life” in those who are genuinely saved (1 Jn. 5:13). They range from walking in the light, to regular confession of sin, to commandment keeping, to loving the brethren, to not loving the world, to practicing righteousness, to maintaining fellowship with the church, and several others. The point is, that if you claim to have eternal life, there will be signs of that life.  Too many who profess faith in Christ, fail to show any real signs of life. This is concerning to any pastor. What are we left to conclude if these “signs of life” are not there?  I would not expect our home to be always neat, tidy, and pristine when it was filled with kids.  I would not expect that our home on Sundays would remain in a neat and tidy state.  I would expect there to be “signs of life”.  This is what God expects, too, in the lives of those who profess to have eternal life.

Examine your heart and life today.  What are the signs of life that you have been regenerated, redeemed, born again, saved?  Without those signs of life, it is like you were never in the house. The “house” is clean…there are no toys strewn about…the table is empty.  The greatest concern I have as a pastor is for those whose “signs of life” are missing. I hope that is not you.

Terry

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