To the Hilt (Graduation Thoughts)

Image by Alexander Lesnitsky from Pixabay

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” —Jesus, as quoted in John 10:10 (NIV)

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” —Jim Elliott

When I read this quote by the late missionary Jim Elliott, it made me think: What does it mean to “live to the hilt”?

The hilt, the handle of a sword, is the only part visible when the blade is plunged in all the way. “To the hilt,” then, means giving something your all—one hundred percent, no reserve.

To me, living to the hilt means three things.

First, living to the hilt means exploring every God-given dream and pursuing the vision.

When I was in high school, I dreamed of becoming a writer. My life’s path led to teaching, which still remains a passion of mine, but the dream of writing never died. Twenty-three years after I graduated from college, I published my first pieces—a couple of devotionals in The Upper Room and a personal experience story in Guideposts. I’ve now published three novels and four books of devotional readings, and have another novel in the works.

The road hasn’t been easy. The learning curve can be steep, and it’s ongoing. When you reach one level, you find there’s another to master.

But when God gives you a dream, you must work to make it a reality. What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God. Remember the parable of the talents? Only the two who used what they were given received the commendation of “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

So discover, develop, and dispense your God-given gifts. Pursue the vision.

Second, living life to the hilt means doing—giving—your best, every moment, every breath. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart” (Colossians 3:23).

All your might. All your heart. Nothing held back.

And don’t let fear hold you back. Fear doesn’t come from God. What Paul wrote to the young pastor Timothy is still true today: “God has not given you a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). He has filled you with His Holy Spirit. Remember, God is for you—He’s your biggest cheerleader. And if God is for you, then who or what can succeed against you? (Romans 8:31)

So, go on, give it your best shot. Give it your all.

Third, living to the hilt means looking forward, not back.

Too often, we play the “if only” game, weaving a web of regret—and getting tangled in it. Don’t waste time and expend energy on what could have been. Use the past to build the future. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

So what if things didn’t turn out the way you planned—the way you wanted? God, ultimately, is in control. He knows what He’s doing. Forget what’s behind and reach forward to what’s ahead. Press on toward your God-given goal (Philippians 3:13–14).

Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness. That means living full, living abundantly, living to the hilt.

Remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Thank You, God, for giving me a dream and showing me the way to make it come true. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 25:14–30

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Awesome God!

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:19 NKJV

 The Lord sure workethed my patience on this one.

In the spring I noticed it was getting harder and harder to see clearly. The problem was cataracts. Simple to fix. Just have them surgically removed.

Getting the surgery scheduled, however, wasn’t so simple. It wasn’t until mid-October that both eyes were finally done, ending five months of having poor DH drive me everywhere I needed to go. So I thought.

After the surgeries, my vision was brighter, clearer – but still out of focus. The doctor wanted to wait until my eyes were healed up before prescribing new eyeglasses. DH would have to be my chauffeur for another six weeks.

So last Monday, at long last, I went to get my eyes measured for new glasses. Clear vision was just around the corner.

But a funny thing happened before my appointment.

Now, this past summer I began a decluttering project to reorganize my study. Boxes and bins of stuff that need to be sorted through still wait in the dining room.

Sunday afternoon I decided to rid the dining room of one large bin and put the books back on the bookcase shelves. However, not all of them would make the cut. So I asked DH to please bring me an empty bin. I knew there was at least one downstairs.

But instead of an empty one, he brought me one filled with documents, files, check registers, and duplicate checks dating back four to five years. So instead of putting books back on the shelves, I began shredding.

Among the outdated papers, I found an eyeglass case. I have several of those around, mostly empty because you never know when you might need a nice, sturdy case. I was about to drop it in the garbage but put it on my desk instead.

The next morning I got up early to work on my novel before my eye doctor appointment. I spied the eyeglass case on my desk and opened it. It wasn’t empty. It contained a pair of glasses I’d worn at least 10 years ago.

“I’ll take these to the eye doctor,” I thought, “and donate them to his collection of used eyeglasses for Third World countries.”

On a whim, I put them on.

Glory be! I could see! Clearly! Everything was in focus!

I wore them to town, loving every second of seeing clearly what I hadn’t been able to see for months, and had the eye doctor determine the lenses’ strength. When he tested my eyes for my new prescription, he noted the measurements were close to what the old lenses were.

“Do I even need new glasses?” I asked him. “Or can I use these old ones?”

I mean, they don’t look retro or anything, wire frames and all.

“It’s up to you,” he answered.

Well, I’ve been praising the Lord ever since. I mean, He saved me hundreds of dollars.

I imagine God must be chuckling up there.

You see, just the day before I preached a sermon in which I challenged my little flock to trust God for all their needs.

“God has never let me down,” I told them.

But never did I dream He’d provide my new glasses with old ones that I almost discarded.

Only God.

What do you need to trust Him for today?

Dear God, you are just awesome! Thank You for the wonderful surprises You bless me with every day. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Matthew 6:25–33 

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.