Comment from Ken: I miss you as I learn to live in retirement and ask God’s blessing upon you. Your comments are always appreciated; in Christian love, ken.
Scripture: Luke 8: 34 – 39
34When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. 37Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.
38Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
My but it is a beautiful day today. The sun is bright, the world is green, and I am surrounded by trees and fields and back roads to investigate. Would you mind if we just visited in my house today for as you can see Molly is asleep under my desk? That is one of her favorite places to be if I am working at my desk. She is getting so big, however, that pretty soon I’ll not be able to bring my chair to the desk. As she loves that enclosure so much, I am going to have to build her a doghouse. I’ve built them before and had a pet reject that special home. I believe Molly will be different. Now all I have to do is find the time to build her house with all the other projects I have before me.
The other night I feel asleep for a time, and then I awakened. Sleep did not return to me for a considerable time for I thought about the many things I had to accomplish although I am supposedly retired. As a matter of fact, my thoughts were so pleasant and happy that I could not stop the thinking process, and I wished morning to come soon so I could pursue my endeavors. How grateful I am that at my age, I can still awaken with an exciting promise of the day to come.
You know that I love working in my shop so many of my thoughts were there. I wish to build a railing around a wooden deck that is off our kitchen. We purchased an old fashioned looking fence, and I am going to use that for the railing so that people, including this fumbling pastor, do not fall off that two foot high deck. Then I thought of building Molly’s doghouse. Then I thought of building a dining room table that Dale wishes me to construct. Of course, I have been working on a cabinet for my Danish Christmas plates and up to now that has had a priority. It is not finished yet. Next was my thought of staining some v-pine that
is going to be put up in my new study, and it has to be stained before it can be nailed in place otherwise when the boards dry and shrink, you will see a white line – the tongue of the grooved pine. All those thoughts were keeping me excited and awake so I began to recall some of the poetry I have learned; it included a lot of scripture and that caused me to think about our loving Savior, Jesus.
There is something missing in my retired life and that is my contact with people. Lying in my bed, I began to recall the people who have touched my life and how important they were to me (and still are!). As I thought of so many who have been a part of my church life for fifty-seven years, I asked myself If Jesus did the same thing when He went to bed. Before He fell asleep, He must have recounted the happenings of the day and thought about the people he had spoken to or healed. The more I thought about Jesus, the more I believed that he must have approached sleep with a happy heart.
So often we think of the tragic end of Jesus’ life. We think of the crucifixion, of His being beaten and scourged, of His crown of thorns, and His terrible pain upon the cross. We often call Jesus a Man of Sorrows. But the other night this pastor began to think of Jesus in a different light. As I recounted my own ministry and the people whose lives I have touched, I began to think of how Jesus touched and changed the lives of hundreds of people during His life and millions and millions after His death. Suddenly, I could picture our Lord smiling as He went to sleep recounting how He had made people feel better, become closer to God, and overcome their pains and problems through belief in a Heavenly Father. While lying in bed at night, did He not think of the sad man among the tombs who constantly cried out and hurt himself? Did he not smile as He thought of that man relieved of his illness and holding fast to a new belief in a loving Savior and God who had even offered to serve Him? How about the woman who sought doctor after doctor to heal her embarrassing hemorrhaging problem; He gave her a new reason for wanting to be alive. Did He not think of the man who was lying near the water that was believed stirred by an angel’s wings? The belief was that when you bathed in it, you could be cured of your illness, and Jesus cured him through the man’s faith? Over and over again, we read of Jesus changing people’s lives by giving them hope and faith in a caring, watchful God. I think Jesus must have gone to bed most nights, tired, weary, worn out, and fatigued from people and crowds. However as the sun went down and He closed His eyes, He must have felt a wonderful feeling of contentment at what had happened that very day. I believe Jesus went to bed knowing he had lived life and lived it abundantly. Have you ever pictured Jesus that way? I did the other night.
Now I miss the people I have tried to serve over so many years. Thinking of the baptisms, marriages, consultations, funerals, problems, the churches and people I have attempted to serve, a smile came across my face even though sleep was eluding me. I thought of all the times I had gone to bed having helped others and how that had brought me such great inner happiness and worth. That my friend is what Christianity is all about. It is about caring for your fellow human beings and knowing when you go to bed at night, you go to bed happy inside for nothing makes a person happier than when he or she has thought of someone else rather than his or herself.
I did go to sleep eventually, and my “awakeness” was not a curse but a blessing for there arose before me the people I have loved and sought to bring Jesus into their lives for so many years. God blessed me with all those years in His church, and I pray that you feel God’s blessing today just as I do.
Dear God, help us to realize that happiness comes from forgetting self and serving others as seen through the life of our Lord. Never are we happier, never are we more fulfilled than when we know we have helped one of Your children to live a more abundant life, a life dedicated to our perfect savior, Jesus Christ; in His name we pray. Amen.
And now “may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”