To the person who said always follow your dreams, I say,”Bah!! Humbug!!”
I have had a beard, and a nice one, too, for about 18 years. My wife likes it, I like it, and I have been complimented on it.
Occasionally I have this nightmare where I am really tired, and getting ready for work, and instead of shaving around the beard I accidentally shave a portion of it off.
Well, you can see where this is going, I am happy, at least, to say it wasn’t a careless mistake. I bought a new beard trimmer and was testing the plastic heads that allow you to trim to a specific length, and the one that I wanted to use slipped off the shaver head just as I was working my way up the left side of my moustache. So, ZIP!! Half the moustache is gone. I tried to shorten everything else to make up for it, but when I really did not want to face the truth, I took the coward’s way out…I asked Donna if it looked okay.
After I picked her up off the floor (not from fainting but from hysterical laughter) she confirmed what I knew all along, ever since the shaver head fell off.
Like the lead song from that 1960’s movie: Bye, Bye Beardie!
So, nu? What’s this got to do with God, or Messianic Judaism, or anything, for that matter? Good question.
My beard was a part of me, and it was something I had cared for and never expected to lose. But in a moment it was gone. Worse than that, in a moment it suffered a devastating accident, and I had to take action on my own to complete the partial loss.
It’s like when a loved one is suffering, or brain-dead and we have to be the ones to pull the plug. Yes, yes…I know….a beard is not a loved one, but the lesson is the same. We never know when something will happen to change what we expected to remain the same.
In the B’rit Chadasha (Good News) Yeshua is talking with a man who says he is going to build a barn, store his grain, yadda-yadda-yadda. He was telling Yeshua all the plans he had made before trusting totally, and Yeshua called the man a fool, because he was making all these plans for his life, but his life was going to be called that very night. The lesson was that the man was too busy being involved in worldly things to recognize the need to first and foremost be right with God.
We don’t know when we will have an accident. That’s why they call it an “accident”: if you plan for it, it is an event. We don’t know why or when or what will happen, day by day, minute by minute. That’s why we have to be prepared for the unprepared. The way to do that is to be right with God, and trust God to take care of whatever comes your way.
If you are right with God, and you know someone who isn’t (they shouldn’t be hard to find) please tell them about my beard. Tell them how the world is an unknown, and that we can never get back what has been lost. We can only go forward, and sometimes we need to be able to let go of the little bit that is left so we can move on.
There is nothing of this world that is more important than preparing for the second life. The whole purpose of being alive is to take the opportunity to prepare for death. If we plan to wait only a minute longer, we may not have even a second to do that. We need to make sure we are not afraid to tell someone who is not a Believer, or a Believer who is not doing right, that they have no time to wait.
I believe we are living in prophetic times. I see the world coming against Israel, the growth of unrest, wars, bad weather, and an evil that is growing very quickly from the Middle East. We, those who believe in God, that Yeshua is the Messiah, and have been saved must try to get the word out. I often take “chances”, dropping little hints here and there in conversation at work or when I volunteer at the Brevard Zoo, or just in general conversation to see if I get a reaction. I will talk about a story in a book relating to the conversation and tell one of the parables, or a story from the Torah or one of the writings, to exemplify the point I am making. If I get a positive response, I may ask further, “Oh, you know that one. Do you read the Bible?” and that can lead me into a discussion, if the other person is willing.
It’s always by baby-steps so I don’t do wrong. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) tells us there is a time for everything, so if it seems the other person is willing to listen, talk; if they are shying away, leave them be. You can’t shove God down someone’s throat. But you can give them a small taste, and since God’s word never returns void, you don’t know what good you might have just done by sowing seeds.
We need to sow the seeds, no matter what kind of soil, and let God do the rest.
I’m not sure if I will keep the baby-face look or not. I figure since it’s done, I might as well stay clean-shaven for a while and see what the general reaction is. You know Donna didn’t waste a second before posting my shaven face on Facebook, and we got a dozen OMG!’s before 5 minutes passed (don’t these people have a life?) Maybe I should leave the beard off- being Messianic doesn’t mean I have to look Orthodox, right? Besides that, Donna has a real good belly-laugh every time I try to kiss her now. Until she gets used to it, it’s worth being this way just to make her happy.
Maybe you won’t have to suffer the loss of your beard, but we all will suffer the loss of our loved ones, and our loved ones will suffer the loss of us. Prepare for them- have your will or trust in order, get a Living Will so they don’t have to make that decision for you when you can’t make it for yourself, and tell people to be prepared for death.
The most important way to be prepared for death (as far as I am concerned) is to reserve my place in the resurrection. I have done that by accepting the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah God promised throughout the Tanakh, and I have accepted the gift of Grace through Yeshua. I have made fellowship with God through the fellowship sacrifice Yeshua made when He gave up His human life so I could have my spiritual life. My human life is how I prepare for my eternal life, and I am set. I have a reserved space, a guaranteed ticket, and all I have to do is make sure I do my part while I am waiting to be called.
The Torah says never come before the Lord empty handed. When I am called before Him, I want to have baskets and baskets full of fruit, the first fruit of my life’s work to bring the Good News to people. I am no missionary, and I am not the type to minister to people. I don’t have that strong a love. I am a good teacher- that is my gift from God, and I will try to use that to bring His word to the world.
I also need to live the word and not just speak the word. That’s hard to do, and I stink at it. But I am getting better.
That’s what living the life of a Believer means to me: not being a different me, just being a better me. And not being who I was, a sinner who rationalizes his sins, but being who I am, a sinner who regrets his sins. This is the path we walk, the way we need to be, and the most difficult thing in the world to do: live in the world but refuse to be a part of the world. I am a foreigner, a sojourner in the world, but unlike those that sojourned with the children of Israel and were expected to live as they did, I am not accepting the world’s ways. I want to live as God says I should live.
What about you? Are you ready to lose people important to you? Are you ready to lose things that you love? Are you ready to lose your very life? If not, get with the program, people! Get real- you will lose everything when the Tribulation starts! If you aren’t ‘raptured’ out you will be in the middle of it (and I have to add I don’t think anyone can say, for certain, who will or won’t be enraptured, or even if or when it will happen.) We must steel ourselves for the battle, get familiar with our armor (read Ephesians) and prepare our emotions and our very souls for loss and sadness. The Ruach will get us through it, if we learn to look to it and draw on it’s strength. It is, after all, the Comforter.
Prepare ye the way of the Lord by preparing yourself.