Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Time For a Little Reflection

This past week, my wife and I marked a couple of significant anniversaries. We celebrated our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary with a romantic riverboat dinner cruise on the Ohio River. Today, I attended a recognition breakfast as Belinda received her certificate for five years with her employer. Occasions such as these cannot help but cause me to reflect on the life God has given us together.
Life under the preacher's roof has been anything but boring. All too often we seemed to be on the "outs" - out of a job, out of a home and out of money. But the one thing we've never been is out of love. My wife's evaluation is that we've had a good life together, and if she is satisfied with that, I am not about to disagree.
Ever so often, I meet and counsel with people who are upset, even angry with the life and circumstances God has given them. They resent the life they've had. They are angry with God and sometimes angry with me because I remind them of God just by being a preacher. When I begin to analyze their complaints, I find frequently they have had a much easier life than we have led. Certainly, they have had more material blessings than we have enjoyed.
This is not to complain on our part. Quite the opposite. We have not had much materially, but the things we have had are the things money can't buy. I've had the best wife I could have every had under any circumstances. We have reared three kids who turned out to be fine adults. They are all in church and serving the Lord. We have never had very large churches, but we've lived long enough to see that most of our ministries were successful. The church we are in now is small and still in its infancy, but we could not ask for better people.
If I lost everything tomorrow, I would still have to say it's been a good life, a successful life and a satisfying life. No one should ever need more than that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Trouble With Helping People

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people just don't know when they're being helped? We have some people in our church who are badly in need of employment, as is the common denominator in a lot of churches these days. Naturally, people have turned to the pastor for whatever help, recommendations or connections I could offer. Of course, I am glad to do whatever I can.
But there is one situation that is frustrating because my attempts to help seem to be getting no where. Several people in church have located numerous job offers for one particular brother, but his every effort to apply appear to be fruitless. His computer always malfunctions with every application. Significantly, none of the available jobs are exactly what the man has in mind for a career. Could that be a factor in his job-hunting difficulty? I don't know. He is sincere, and seems to be depending on the Lord for leading him to a job. Still, none of the jobs around match with what this brother senses as his "calling."
He reminds me of a story my daughter told me recently:
A man was stranded in his home in the midst of a flood. Eventually, a rescue boat arrived, and the captain called out, "Get on the boat and we will take you to safety!"
"No, thanks," the man replied, "God will take care of me."
A second boat arrived some time later with the same offer of help, and the man replied again: "No thanks, the Lord will take care of me."
The flood grew worse. The man went from the first floor to the second. Finally, he went to the roof. A helicopter arrived on the scene.
"Climb on the ladder," the pilot called, "and I will take you to safety."
"No thanks," the man replied again, "The Lord will take care of me."
After the helicopter left, the house was swamped and the man drowned. When he arrived at heaven's door, he said to the Lord, "I don't understand. I thought you would take care of me."
The Lord replied, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more did you want?"