Comment From Ken: Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and Dale and I wish you a Happy New Year.
Scripture: Mark 1:14 -21
14Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee,
preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15and saying
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
16And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18They immediately left their
nets and followed Him.
19When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James
the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the
boat mending their nets. 20And immediately He called them, and
they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants,
and went after Him.
21Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the
Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. 22And they were
astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having
authority, and not as the scribes.
I was so hoping you would join me for our walk this morning for I know we have not walked together for several weeks. You came to my home, and there was no one there. I’m sorry. This year, the Christmas season just overwhelmed this “Old Man.” Now my dear Dale will not like that I call myself an old man, but I have to speak the truth. Oh how life changes as we move from being seventy to being eighty. Do you know that it now takes me so long to just button a button or to walk to the mailbox and back? Easy tasks, even as simple as getting up in the morning are now more difficult; now do not get me wrong, I am so grateful for my life and my wife Dale.
For so many years, I have written a letter to all the couples I married, and when they were married, I asked for a Christmas card each year to tell me how they were doing and what was happening in their lives. This is the first year I have not sent out such a letter, and so during our walk, I want all the couples I have married in the past to walk with us.
At present, my walk with my beloved is far more difficult. You see I can no longer do so many of the things I brought into our marriage for physically my body has changed so much. Sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror and ask if this is the same person who cut down huge pine trees, brought them to the sawmill I had rebuilt, and cut them into boards. I then used these boards to build a home on Greenhill in Barrington, New Hampshire. As a matter of truth, now I have a difficult time standing for a long time in one place. At present, I will work in my shop or on a project, and then I will sit for five minutes; then I work and sit for another five minutes. What I can accomplish in one day is now so limited by what I could accomplish when I was younger. What is required of my Dale is a lot more patience. So I am warning you younger couples that a part of a strong marriage is patience as you grow older together. As you age, it is important that you do not make your partner feel incompetent or inadequate in performing daily tasks. As a man, it is so difficult not be able to do the active things that he once found easy to do.
One of the reasons I have not walked with you recently is because I wished to make cabinets for our kitchen as a gift for Dale. Day after day, I worked on those cabinets sitting to rest then working again as I told you earlier. It was my hope to make one part of our kitchen into a bakery including another stove in the area. It became evident that I could never complete that project before Christmas, and Dale wanted to make me feel that it was perfectly all right if they were not completed (as long as they were to be COMPLETED in the not too distant future).
The cabinets were completed right after Christmas, and we repainted our kitchen to finish the project. Our kitchen has a cathedral ceiling and that meant that we had to use a tall ladder to reach the peak. Dale was the one who was going to have to go up that ladder, and I was going to hold it steady. Now I have climbed ladders and worked at heights all my life, but I cannot do that now. To stand there and watch Dale paint where I should have painted was honestly painful for me. And no, we did not hire someone to paint the high places as we did when we painted the outside of our home frankly because I am retired, and we now live on a fixed budget. How about that you couples who are walking with me today? One day, you come to a fixed income so if you are younger make sure you plan your future well. Dale and I are grateful for the retirement benefits we have and are thankful we have such a comfortable and beautiful home. But mostly we are thankful we have each other.
One of the most gratifying parts of our married life together is that we are a team. We love to be together, and we love to do projects together. This husband now gets tired before his wife and has to quit working sooner, and Dale has come to learn to live with that. Sometimes, I just have to let her keep going even though I wish she would rest more often. I do not think she will object if I say I just will not let her push me too hard either. We both have our strengths as well as our weaknesses; but as a team, we are unconquerable. Dale brings in the firewood in a larger armful than I can do, but I can light the fire in the woodstove perhaps better than her. Dale can bring in most of the groceries, but I can unpack them and put some of them away. I can empty the dishwasher, and I can wash, dry, fold, and put away our laundry. Dale shovels the snow near our doorstep, and I can clean up the driveway with our tractor. She can walk Molly, and I can take Molly to Doggy Day Care. Do you do that in your marriage with your loved ones? Sharing tasks and loving each other as we journey life is what a marriage is all about.
Our Lord Jesus Christ called unto Him twelve disciples. He had a journey to walk on this earth, to bring His Father’s will to you and to me and to all nations. Jesus knew He could not do that task alone He needed others to aid and help Him. He taught His disciples of the will of God, and then He sent them out to bring His good news to all. They went from village to village speaking of the way of peace, of prayer and closeness to God – of all people loving each other. And when our Lord’s life was over, His disciples and their followers brought Christianity to all nations. Jesus and His disciples were a team bound by love of each other and God. We too are bound to each other by love of each other and God.
To all who are married or share life with someone special or with their family – patience, love and being a team together is what makes life so beautiful and bearable in difficult times because you are part of a loving sharing team. Every day, I thank God that I have a wonderful marriage with a teammate named Dale.
Prayer: Dear Lord, teach us patience, grant us a partnership with those we love that we may form a bond that can never be broken. Help us to remember our Lord Jesus Christ who taught us that this journey of life is best lived by loving You our God and the people around us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.