Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. (2 Tim. 2:22)

Matt is my neighbor across the fence. He is a strong, Christian, young man who has a heart as big as his dog, Hunter. He is also differently abled and loves to bowl. At his church, he supports the pastoral staff by helping remind them of Scripture texts and the order of worship. Despite being cognitively challenged, he thinks of himself as a pastor. But his most important trait is his commitment to prayer. He had a business card made for his prayer ministry, with his email and phone number available for requests. It includes a promise to pray for your concerns every night at a set time.

My wife and I were planning on bowling one summer evening, so when I saw him in his yard, I called him over to the fence and asked if he might like to go to the lanes with us. He was obviously excited, already knocking down pins in his mind. When I told him the time that we would be going, his face turned serious and downturned. “I’m sorry,” he murmured, “that’s when I pray for people. I won’t be able to go.”

I knew at that moment the difference between Matt and me. I would have readily moved my schedule to do what I like to do; he was focused on things that mattered.

Flee fruitless interests and pursue the deep things of God.

Rich Eckley is professor of theology at Houghton College and serves on the Women in Ministry Task Force for The Wesleyan Church.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.