The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Dan Carlson
Prairie Ponderings 

Why Now?


January 26, 2022 | View PDF

I’ve been blessed. I’ve been sure to let God know that.

Though far from rich by the world’s standards, I’ve got a beautiful wife, a nice house, a vehicle that runs, food, clothing, clean water, and a lifestyle that’s comfortable. I’ve got friends, something of a “following” in the area, access to medical care and the benefit of living in a rural area not plagued with the problems afflicting the big cities.

If you can relate to any of this, you’re blessed too.

Many times over the years I’ve gone out into my pasture, sat down, and spent time watching birds and wildlife, praying, and pondering where I am in life. I thanked God for the farm we’ve lived on for 10 years and the blessing it’s been to me. I was comfortable, which is not necessarily where God wants us to be. In recent years I’ve been haunted by a particular Bible verse…

“The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

Seventy years. Maybe eighty. So is our anticipated lifespan as told to us 3,000 years ago. Sure, there are exceptions. But over the centuries, 70-80 years has been considered a full life. This means on the game clock of life, I’m a few minutes into the fourth quarter. Then I will die. Only 10 or 20 years remain until the final buzzer.

We are not saved by works, but by the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ on our behalf, and by the faith we have in Him. Yet works do play a role in the Christian life, and our heavenly reward will be directly related to what we do in this life. The apostle John says our works show God that we love Him, as does our obedience to His commandments. That means Christianity is a proactive faith, always meant to be doing God’s work. There is no provision in scripture for retirement in God’s service, and we’re expected to be using our gifts and talents on His behalf throughout our lives.

I was happy, and content to live out my days on my farm near Gurley as I ministered at local churches, in the community, and wrote novels. But to whom much is given, of them much shall be required. I’ve been given a lot.

So when the call came to give it all up to go pastor a church in South Dakota, my initial response was the human one. Reluctance. Doing that would require giving up my comfortable life and taking a huge step of faith. But then the Holy Spirit put another Bible passage into my head, and it too has been bouncing around in there a lot…

“Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, (30) who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

So now, in my time of comfort, I must step out in faith. Why now? That’s not my call.


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