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September 24, 2020

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

September 24, 2020
I confess, I still use an old-fashioned paper calendar. This week I put in my annual order for 2021 and as I did, I wondered---what will NEXT year bring?

Because of the unprecedented challenges of 2020, many people feel their purchase of a 2020 calendar filler was a waste. They long for 2020 to be over, which is a wasteful, sinful attitude to embrace.

Bob Russel recounts the old story of a coed who absolutely despised school. She couldn’t wait to graduate and get on with her life. Her life goal was to get married and have children. She knew that’s when her life would be fulfilling. So school was a bore. She grudgingly tolerated her classes and classmates, longing to get her education behind her.

Not long after graduation, she got married and quickly had three children. However, she was surprised at how demanding the little ones were; changing dirty diapers, cleaning up messes, wiping runny noses, fixing another meal, and dealing with constant interruptions. It wasn’t as fulfilling as she anticipated! And she found herself saying, “I can’t wait ‘til all three of these kids are in school so I can relax a little and enjoy myself.”

Finally, the last child was in first grade, and she was about to unwind and enjoy life for the first time when her husband said, “Honey, I think you need to go to work so we can afford to send these kids to college one day.” Well, she certainly didn’t want to get a job. But she had to admit it would be expensive to send the kids to college, so she reluctantly went to work. She hated her job. She found herself saying, “I can’t wait until the kids are finished with college and the bills are paid so I can quit work and enjoy life.”

Finally, the last bill was paid, and she marched into the boss’ office and said, “I quit!”
“Oh, no! You don’t want to quit now,” the boss insisted. “If you work another seven years, you’ll get a much better retirement package!” She had to agree it would be nice to have all that extra money. So, she stayed on. She marked “RETIREMENT!” on the future calendar and yearned for that day to come.

At last, she and her husband retired together. They moved to Florida and spent the rest of their years sitting on the front porch of their cottage leafing through the family album, REMINISCING ABOUT THE GOOD OLD DAYS.

Sad story. Russell says, “It illustrates the fact that to fallen beings, life looks good in prospect or in retrospect, but seldom in the present.” As Christ-followers we must be different. Do you remember how the psalmist put it? “THIS is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in IT” (Psalm 118:24 NASB).

J. Wallace Hamilton once share the results of a survey taken in London in the early 1960’s. The Brits were asked to pick their most memorable experiences in life. Surprisingly many said that some of their most significant—and even favorite—moments occurred during the terrifying bombing raids in World War II. They explained, “Every day was precious because we had no assurance of tomorrow. Relationships were appreciated more. Though we lived in constant fear, we soaked up every day and lived more alertly. We took nothing for granted. We were fully alive.”

I wonder if 20 years from now, many of us (or our children) will say, “Some of my favorite memories occurred during the pandemic of 2020. We stayed home more. We were closer as a family. I enjoyed the card games we played. It seemed like we weren’t so busy then. I really liked worshipping together as a family around the computer. Somehow we were more fully alive.”

I know 2020 has been a rough year, but don’t wish it away. Remember, God’s mercies are new EVERY morning---so every day is a blessing. Don’t waste even one. Some of your most precious experiences could happen in the next three months. Plus, we have no guarantee 2021 is going to be better. Neither do we have a guarantee to be alive tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be silly to spend the next three months waiting for next year if you die as the ball falls on January 1, 2021, or if next year is indeed worse?

Have a good day---TODAY---as you…

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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