Everybody’s got a story – and God cares about yours
Matthew 10: 29-31
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside
your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be
afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Make the most with the opportunity God's given you
Moving is not fun. It’s humbling and aggravating. First, you don’t realize how did you ever become attached to so many things including items that no one else would ever care about?
Like that golf scorecard from 1998 that was one of the few times you ever shot under par on an 18-hole golf course.
Or the small replica Pabst Blue Ribbon bottle that reminds you of your grandfather because that’s the beer he used to drink after work?
You throw things away. You donate others.
You realize you don’t need to keep lugging around two small snow sleds on your move to Panama City Beach, Florida, but some how your wife can’t seem to part with them.
Maybe one of our friends with children can come visit from Wisconsin and take them back up north to the winter climate where snow exists.
But then you get to your collection of books. Large quantities of books.
It doesn’t help matters that each of the last two moves you have given away, thrown away and donated large numbers of books. The cut with this move was the toughest yet.
I had already weeded out the ones with a particular attachment.
I’ve had a penchant for reading that continued to grow when my mother was a manager at a Waldenbooks store while I was growing up.
I love well-written autobiographies and biographies.
Two of my favorite biographies are “Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero” and “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss.
The reason I have the most difficult time getting rid of an autobiography or a biography because it signifies someone’s life.
What is unique to them with what they have faced on their journey on this earth that is different than any other person God created.
God cares about each of those lives represented on those pages.
He cares about you when you are struggling.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you …” – Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
He cares about which direction in life you will take.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him …” – Psalm 37:23 NIV
He loves you more than you can possibly comprehend.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 NIV
More than 150 books did not make the cut on the move from Alabama to Florida.
The autographed copy of former NFL head coach Dennis Green’s autobiography “No Room for Crybabies” was sent to the scrapyard. So did Lute Olson’s “Lute: The Seasons of My Life.”
Olson coached my beloved Iowa men’s basketball team when I was teen-ager before going on to greater things at the University of Arizona.
There were many others I made the call to say good-bye to but those two books stuck in my mind this time more than many of the others because both died in the last five years.
Their stories on this earth are complete as one day all of ours will be.
But our stories don’t have to end.
In Luke 10, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, an expert of the law, trying to trip up
Jesus asks: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus questions him back by asking: “What is written in the law?”
The man replies: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
Jesus answers: “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”
We get one opportunity to write our own stories on earth.
Make it the best account you can. You don't want to throw it away.
Brad Zimanek is the Pastor at Gulfview United Methodist Church in Panama City Beach, Florida. He worked in sports journalism for 32 years prior to answering the call to full-time ministry in 2019.