Torch, Spring 1994

Pregnancy Center (CPC) six years ago, and while it has not always been easy, it has been one of the most rewarding areas of ministry for me. At the CPC, our focus is to create an environment of genuine care and concern for women of all ages who come for the various services provided-free pregnancy tests, clothing, furniture, information, counseling, and referrals. Each volunteer brings a set of talents, spiritual gifts, and experiences from which to draw upon while meeting with a client, and the volunteers meet to pray prior to each day 's activities. Mindful of the Lord's presence even while meeting alone with a client, I continually pray for the Holy Spirit's direction. "Give me the words to say," I ask, and I find that God enables me to weave Him into the conversations using verses and examples from Scripture to fit each client's particular situation. Most clients have never considered that Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced a "crisis pregnancy" out of wedlock, or that Moses, the great leader of the Israelites, was adopted into the home of Pharaoh's daughter. At ninety years of age, Sarah bore Isaac by God 's grace. Women who come to the Crisis Pregnancy Center are often full of anxiety, and are at the point of decision. By using these biblical illustrations, I desire to show each person that God is there to help her if she will trust Him to do so. This has led to some clients receiving Christ at the Center. These examples may seem to imply that I take advantage of every opportunity to be a steward of what God has given me. Not so. My growing obedience and desire to do His will today stem from two tragic occurrences in my early Christian experience in which I allowed my agenda to take precedence over more important spiritual matters. In both instances God had placed in my heart and on my mind an undeniable urgency to share the Gospel with two people: my friend's dad who had cancer and a high Torch 14 school friend who was suffering from depression. With my busy schedule before me, I continued to smother the promptings of the Holy Spirit beneath my lists of "things to do" and my household chores, not to mention my responsibilities at church. Finally, when I got around to it, I called my friend to set up a time when I could visit her father. Too late! He had died at the time when I had been caught up in my flurry of activity. The classmate had committed suicide. I had been too busy planning and organizing my priorities above the things of God. I realized from these two isolated events that such a careless attitude toward eternal matters grieved the Lord and must not characterize my life as a Christian. I had a choice when opportunities of eternal importance occurred. I could be like many Christians in the Apostle Paul's day (and in ours), of whom he wrote: "For all seek their own [interests], not the things which are Jesus Christ's" (Philippians 2:21). Or, I could follow the example of Timothy, of whom Paul wrote that he proved himself in the work of the Gospel (Philippians 2:20,22). I faced a daily choice between using opportunities to serve myself-my own priorities and interests--0r to exhibit a lifestyle which reflected my inner motives of serving Christ in my talents, treasures, and time. I would seek to choose the latter-to plan for opportunities and to practice my response to unplanned opportunities. As I look over the span of a month, I want to be sure that I am using my God-given talents in my home, church, work, and neighborhood. I also want to use them in volunteer work, for widows, and especially in evangelism. When I think of treasures, I think about obedience and sacrifice . I am reminded of Luke 21:1-4 where Jesus made a comment to his listeners about the widow's offering. Tithing was required by the law. This woman not only obeyed God in fulfilling the law but went beyond to give sacrificially. And when I think of time, I think of the simple, yet insightful rhyme : "Only one life, ' twill soon be past, only what 's done for Christ will last. " Each of us is given talents, treasures, and time by God. Are we good stewards of them? The answer is often in how we use them for Christ in brief moments of decision. As a new Christian 18 years ago, I befriended an elderly woman in a nursing home. One day I arranged to treat her to lunch. Our single income was already stretched to the limit. My husband and I sold a small piece of furniture and decided that I would use a portion of that money for the luncheon . When I arrived to get her, she had invited her roommate to go along. After lunch they wanted to go shopping. I knew they were penniless. As I watched them look excitedly through the colorful housedresses, God pressed His desire upon my heart. "But, Lord.. .I already paid for their lunches... and we didn 't make that much on the sale in the first place...." When I returned them to the nursing home they were exhausted but deeply grateful for their afternoon on the town. As I drove home I pushed back the tears and the urge to count whatever change might be left over. I had experienced the ouch and the joy of giving in a sacrificial way, and I didn ' t want my tears to determine which one I felt the most. An oft-quoted expression in our day is "Carpe Diem," which is Latin for "seize the day. " But for centuries the Bible has implored us to redeem the time "because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). May we be challenged to seize every day and every opportune moment for the glory of God. JoAnn DiCuirci is an adjunct professor of education at Cedarville College with responsibilities for supervising student teachers and teaching the Arts and Crafts class. She received a B.A. degree from Western Michigan University and took graduate work at Southern Illinois University. JoAnn and her husband will lead a Missionary Internship Service (MIS) team to England in the summer of 1994.