Pastor Perspective 01-05-2021

My first phone call on New Year’s Day was from a church member notifying me that Owen Widman had gone home to be with the Lord. Less than 24 hours later, I learned that John Fox had joined him. I remembered David’s words when he learned that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle:  “How the mighty have fallen!” Owen and John both walked as spiritual giants among us. Simultaneously, a friend in my men’s Bible study group with Owen forwarded a devotion from Stand Firm he found timely words for all of us. It is based on Ecclesiastes 9:10. “Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in death where you are going.” Here it is:

“Recently, my son found a conversation I was having with my wife quite humorous regarding the ages of our dogs, how long they would probably live, and if I would live long enough to train more dogs after these. My son asked me, “Are you planning to die anytime soon?” and we had a good laugh. But the truth of the matter is that while I’m not sure if it will be soon or not, I am planning to die. I have lived long enough to experience the passing of several loved ones who have been the nearest and dearest to me in life. Their passing has helped me to recognize that life really is short and that the windows of opportunity I have in life are slowly – but inevitably – closing. One might believe that thinking this way has put some kind of cloud of doom over my life, but in reality, it has had just the opposite effect on me. I appreciate life in ways I never did when I was younger. I recognize that every day I am able to walk my dogs, work out at the gym, spend time with my family, and experience the opportunities to serve my Lord is a wonderful gift. In today’s passage, Solomon observed this truth in life. The man who has the most hope is the one who has a healthy perspective on his mortality because it motivates him to live his life to the fullest – not in the present, but in preparation for the day he stands before God in the future. How is your perspective on life and death?”

He then added a quote by Billy Graham:  “The greatest surprise in life to me is the brevity of it.” Words of wisdom as we all begin this New Year with all of its potential. You may not be into New Year’s resolutions, but establishing healthy priorities consistent with God’s will is a worthy endeavor. See you Sunday! ~ John