A Richer life

February 1, 2019 by Joseph Carpenter (Tennessee)

I have few memories of the events that occurred on the day my heart stopped. When I awoke in the emergency room, I felt something pounding against my chest causing pain and discomfort. Shortly afterwards, I was administered anesthesia and taken to the operating room where the surgeon implanted a pacemaker to regulate my heart.   

When I recall my experience, I am filled with joy and thankfulness for all of those who saved me — my friend John who rushed for help, Tina who performed CPR, the EMT's who kept me alive on the way to the hospital, and the doctors and nurses who restored my life. But most importantly, I thank my heavenly Father for giving me another chance at life.

Since I retired I have prayed and asked God to show me how I can better serve. God has answered my prayers. For the past few years I have been involved in many church and community activities: I facilitate adult Sunday school when needed, I serve on church committees and assist with worship services, and during the school year I tutor a student in reading at a local elementary school.

One of my most rewarding endeavors is my work with youth ministry. I often lead youth Sunday school and help with mission projects. I've questioned why God would send me here since the youth and I are generations apart. I ask, What could I offer these young people? When I interact with them, I sense that God is assuring me that this is where God wants me to be. As I have helped them to move forward in their faith journey, I have discovered they are doing the same for me.

God continues to open doors for me to serve. I still have doubts and at times feel anxious and unsure of my abilities, but instead of saying, "Why me? I can't do this. Isn't there someone else?" Now I more often say, "Here I am. Please use me where I'm most needed."

As Christians, we know God loves us and wants to be a bigger part of our lives. God has given us many gifts, and if we say "yes" and ask God to leads us, God will. Remember how God used Abraham, Samson, Moses, Joseph, David, and many others? God is always here and ready to show us our talents, and God will show us how we can apply them in service to the kingdom.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."  — Romans 12: 6-8, (NIV)

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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