Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not people. Colossians 3: 23 NKJV
by Al Tucker
On this first day of March, I am like an excited child who cannot wait for Christmas morning to arrive. You see, I am waiting on the Lord with great excitement to see how He is going to paint our landscapes with His glorious spring colors. It is quite a show that lasts from mid-March to the end of May. It begins with trees splashed with subtle hues of greens, reds, and yellows. As the days go by and the leaves start to darken, He applies vibrant colors to various flowering shrubs and trees and then surrounds them with a carpet of color from spring wildflowers that emerge for a short time period. Sadly, many people are oblivious to their surroundings and miss God’s beautiful handiwork that takes place all around them during springtime.
About twenty years ago, a work colleague and I were driving back to Washington D.C. from southern Virginia after completing a work project there. It was early spring, and the landscape was just starting to take on a new life. I said to my colleague, “I love this time of year and watching how the landscape takes on a new beauty every day.” He replied, “what do you mean?” I told him to look at the hillsides and all the beautiful shades of green in the various trees. He was quiet for a while and then said something like, “I’ve never noticed that.” I told him to continue to observe how the landscape changes color in the days ahead until the verdant green of summer sets in. Weeks later, he told me how much he appreciated me pointing out the beautiful phenomena that play out all around us. My friend, like most people, was completely unaware of his surroundings. I am sure he was focused on other things going on in his life that he failed to notice the beauty of God’s creation. We all fall victim to that sometimes.
I have been very fortunate to always have had a keen appreciation for nature and a great love of the outdoors. It is a gift God gave me early in my life, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I just took it for granted and enjoyed it. It wasn’t until I was saved that I understood that God’s beautiful creation was just one of the many blessings in my life. Prior to that time, I never gave it much thought that God created this beauty for us to enjoy and preserve. Oh, I was aware of the Book of Genesis and the verses about God creating the earth, all the creatures, Adam, Eve, and so on. But it, and the rest of the Bible, really had little impact on my life. I was truly unmindful about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost! Spiritually, I was dead.
All of that changed when I surrendered my life to Jesus. If you have read my earlier Revealing God’s Glory articles, you know that story. I firmly leaned on my own understanding, living basically a self-centered life that was about pleasing me, my wife, and occasionally family and friends. Doing something to please God never entered into the equation. Those days are over, He abides in me, and I now have a consuming passion for serving Him above all else.
So how did that happen? One day you are oblivious, and the next, you can see clearly. When I totally submitted myself to Jesus and His will, something amazing happened: He came into my heart as I was baptized by the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall become witnesses to me…” It was a life-changing experience. Since that time, I have been about seeking my identity in Christ and learning how “to use my gifts/abilities for His glory.” (1 Peter 4:11)
I am having the time of my life. I always wondered what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’ve been many things, apprentice draftsman, quality control technician, engineer, commander, professor, and project manager, to name a few, held many titles in my career, and managed huge projects here in the U.S. and internationally. But with Jesus, I finally found my most important role, being His servant, and the best title I could ever have, being a Child of God. I can tell you that it doesn’t get any better than this.
Initially, I thought I was too old to be of any use to God. What could a 70+-year-old guy with little understanding of scripture do to help Him? Well, the Bible is full of inspirational stories of how He used people far older than me for His glory. In our world today, being old and the concept of being an elder is an anathema to many. But, I don’t worry about that, I have total confidence in Him. I read once that “When God gives you an opportunity to serve Him, He looks at your heart, not your date of birth.” How about a ‘Praise the Lord’ on that. There is hope for us all to serve Him. We just need to “hear His word, embrace it, and produce a harvest.” (Mark 4:20) It’s that simple. But you have to make a choice. I did, in essence, I finally did what I have sung so many times “here I am Lord, send me.”
In the vernacular of the photographer, I now live my life through a God-shaped lens. I try to do that by listening to His word, asking the Holy Spirit to help me discern His truth, and then embracing it by believing and living it. My ministry is simple: sharing my personal testimony of the power of the Gospel and trying to help disadvantaged people, especially children. I won’t say that it is always easy. I led a project with a Band of Brothers to sell 1,000 calendars at $15 each to raise money to help kids. At first, that goal seemed unattainable as today, people have access to free schedules, or they don’t need one as they use the one on their phone. However, I’ve learned that all things are possible with God, and somehow, He makes it happen. In four years, we have raised over $110,000 to brighten the lives of families in need and disadvantaged children. Can I hear another, “Praise the Lord!”
My hopes are that others will see the joy of Jesus in my life and, if you are unaware of God’s presence as I was, you will not hesitate to seek him out. You will never regret it. Finally, I do hope you’ll take some time to observe and enjoy God’s beauty as he reveals His glory this spring. Godspeed!
Feature Images: @Backyard Photography, Alan Tucker