Charlie Hustle

Pete Rose was my favorite player of all time. He certainly was not a righteous man; I’m not even sure anyone would call him a “good person” (though, we are all sinners).

No, but on the field he never stopped; he never wasted a chance--even a small chance. Once, in the World Series when he was at Philadelphia, the ball was a pop up and it bounced out of the first baseman’s glove. But Pete’s glove was right under it waiting for that one in 100 possibility. And, he always ran for first on called third strikes, on pop ups, on ground balls.

It is a useful lesson for us with terminal illness, and for you too. Life is not for people who give up easily. I was in the chemo room waiting for my shot. I was talking to a lady whose husband is a minister of God. She had it beat for several years, but her cancer came back. Her husband told her “we’ll just have to walk it out.” Meaning, if this is God’s will, we have to walk the walk he is giving us and hold onto Jesus.

But also, there are times we-or some of us-need to run it out. We took a homerun swing at life but popped up. Now do we drop the bat and walk or jog to first base, or do we run like we’d hit a hard liner and intend to stretch it to a double?

Enough of baseball analogies. I have two kinds of cancer simultaneously. No joke. I have stage IV prostate cancer I’ve lived with and adapted to; and multiple myeloma, newly diagnosed. I guess, if one doesn’t kill me the other will. So, I still have my work cut out. There are still my friends at the shelter, the possibility of a second book, the website ministry, home church, my wife and sons who I love like crazy. And there is Lord Jesus coaching on the sideline saying “run, Joe!” (I know, I said I was done with the analogy, but it fits).

I know my life is not the example I’d want anyone to follow. I did what made me feel good, or what was safe most of the time when faced with choices. A couple of good choices though. Taking Kat for my wife; having kids; going to school and working hard. And, lots of bad choices as well. I can say I never meant to hurt anyone. I’m not that type of evil. But hurting people as a consequence of lust, pride, avarice, anger, fear and worldliness-those I did.

Now though, I see clearly and Jesus told me to wash in the pool called Siloam’s (sent). I will go; I will be his, I will hustle and run with all my might as far as I can get, I will believe in a homerun with the Holy Spirit pushing me along. Amen

A word to the wise. Life is fatal. Each day is a precious gift, the Lord has works set aside for you to do. Whether you are 24 or 74, makes no difference. Our days are numbered and only God knows the number of them.

Life is filled with opportunities and choices. But here is the big one: you can surrender to him and serve him or you can be overtaken from behind by the other and made a slave to him. Either way the tent of flesh will be set aside in its time and you will answer for your life. The creator of the universe has placed his son in the judgment seat, and his judgment is just, for he is the Son of Man. Amen.

Therefore be serious and sober in making this choice. Your eternal existence depends on it. If you live your life, or what remains of it for him, you are like the workers in the Vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16. But if you do not, you will be a weed and in time you will be pulled up and thrown into the fire!

Be advised, this is no joke. Be very careful making your choice. The death of the flesh is nothing compared to the second death! I can testify, having lived 73 years, that there is nothing, no pleasure, no experience, no lover, no material possession that beats a relationship with Jesus Christ for having a happy, blessed life here and now. And nothing, worse than facing death without the assurance that one stands saved in the sight of God.

So, this life is short, everything in it is momentary, all will be gone like bubbles in a breeze. Don’t be deceived. Distractions are nothing. You will do best to focus on Him. And, take my advice-hustle. Don’t dally or delay. Do it with all your might.

So, like “Charlie hustle”--run it out!

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