I had the best Nana that ever lived. I apologize to those who feel like they had the best grandma, but my Nana was the best! This is not a biased statement, she truly was. She spoiled us without spoiling us. She was stern and forthcoming in what she stood for. Nana set an example of hard work and was the best cook I have ever known. I learned how to be a competitive black jack player by the age of three because of my Nana.
This unconditional love she showed us, her only grandchildren, is a behavior I strive for to this day. Growing up with a brother who’s a foot taller than me led to the statement, “You can’t do that, you’re not big enough!” My Nana would step in on my behalf and demand that I was able to give whatever it was a shot. As an adult, when I lived a selfish and sinful life, she would never pass judgment. She focused on who I could be and not who I was. I’m happy to say that she witnessed God’s reconciliation on my life before He decided to take her home a little over two years ago.
During the last few years of her life I was able to spend time doing chores at her house, chatting with her about her past, and repaying her for all the love she showed me her entire life, although there was no way I could actually repay her for this unconditional love. My eagerness to spend this time with her and brag about her to this day is the fruit of how she treated me my whole life.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Psalm 116. In the first six verses the Psalmist writes…
1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
And guess what!? That is exactly what He did; He saved me! If you believe and have accepted His gift of Jesus in your life then He has saved you too! So how can we repay Him? Can we repay Him?
The Psalmist asks this question in verse twelve…
12 How can I repay the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
This repaying isn’t a debt I am going to pay off. This is a result of a 180 degree change that occurred when I surrendered my life to Jesus. How do I share this fruit with everyone? How do I call on the name of Jesus in the presence of all His people? By my willingness to let His light shine in my whole life.
My Grandparents lived on a 60-acre ranch in the middle of a bunch of other 60-acre ranches. Needless to say, they were out in the country and when it got dark at night, it got dark (unless the moon was fully out)! When it was a full moon I couldn’t believe how bright the night became. It was breathtaking how bright the moon could actually get.
But the moon itself is not what lights up the sky. It’s only when the moon is fully exposed and not hiding in the shadow of the earth that the radiance of the sun can reflect and shine down on our dark land. This is the same willingness we need to fully expose ourselves to God so His Son’s radiance can reflect and shine down into a world of darkness.
60 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Needless to say, this world is getting darker. I want to give all I can to the Lord for all his goodness to me. I don’t want to hide in any shadows, but be fully available to let His light shine in a dark world. This is the vow I want to fulfill in the presence of all His people. This fruit of His goodness should invoke our witness to others.
If my Nana’s love inspired me so much that I wanted to give all I could back to her, how much more should God’s grace and mercy inspire the exact same thing?