The most important thing not to miss…

I was sitting with an older gentleman not long ago, and we got to talking about what it was like when we were growing up and how life has shifted.

For thousands of years, there wasn’t much of a shift. Your grandfather farmed the land, then your dad took over the farm and one day, you ended up farming it. Much of life took place in the same area with the same basic activities.

But this conversation got me thinking about some of the things I miss today that were so much a part of my growing up. I miss those little red plastic milk tokens, the ones for chocolate milk. I miss the monthly school calendar with the cafeteria menu. I miss the crank telephone and waiting for our ring: two long and one short. I miss buying war stamps at my elementary school. I miss the television signing on in the morning with a montage of patriotic pictures and signing off at night with the National Anthem.

I miss playing Red Rover, dodge ball and backyard kickball. I miss milk that came in a glass bottle and the milkman who delivered it to your house. I miss the small mom-and-pop grocery stores where you could order a bologna sandwich from the meat counter.

I miss the days of riding through town on my bike delivering papers early in the morning. I miss the gas pump with the clear globe on top. I miss the man who would run out to your car, wash your windows, fill your tank, check your oil and give you a free map.  I miss the old McDonald’s where a hamburger cost 15 cents, a cheeseburger 19 cents and a Coke was a dime. I miss the days when you could walk around your neighborhood at night without fear. I miss the days of Burma Shave signs and unique little family hotels dotted along Route 66. I miss the banana seat bicycle with the playing card stuck in the spokes. I miss the days when you could leave your house for a week and never lock your front door.

I miss the days when you never took your keys out of your car and only rolled up the windows if it looked like rain. I miss listening on the radio to the Green Hornet, Amos ‘n’ Andy’ or The Shadow. I miss playing in the rain, building boats and damming up a ditch to make a lake. I miss modesty.

I miss the days when both the doctor and your pastor would come to your house. I miss getting letters in the mail from grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. I miss the Fuller Brush salesman and the Sears & Roebuck catalog. I miss getting eggs from the lady next door.

I miss the days when stores were closed on Sunday. I miss churches having two-week revivals that might last for three. I miss people coming forward repenting and rededicating their lives to a holy God. I miss the days of the two-week Vacation Bible school. I miss Easter sunrise services and dressing up to see the sun and the Son come up. I miss everyone having a Bible – a real leather, marked-up, underlined and worn-out Bible. I miss the days when the men would invite us boys to work alongside them to build an addition to the church. I miss seeing new converts baptized in the creek.

I miss Monday-night visitation where the whole church came out. I miss prayer in the schools and pledging allegiance to the flag. I miss the protracted prayer time our church used to have on Wednesdays. I miss dinners on the grounds and holding a hymnal. I miss going over to someone’s house after Sunday night services and fellowshipping.

Although I miss all these things, I don’t ever want to miss out on the awe of God. No matter how much life has shifted, His awe has always been and will always be around us. As the handiwork of His creation, we should always stand in awe of His movement around and in us. I don’t ever want to miss the truth that the ray of warmth shining on my body is a miracle straight from my Father’s hand. I don’t want to miss the truth that every word of his holy Book is energized by the Spirit and is life-giving. I don’t want to miss out on Him prompting my heart to do something in His name. I don’t want to miss out on the wonder of just one person who has been delivered out of darkness and into light by the blood of Christ.

In other words, I don’t want to miss out on anything that brings Him glory.

“Let all earth fear the Lord; let the people of the world revere him” (Psalm 33:8).