My sister Lindsay who was named for her, asked her one day, “Grannie, do you ever get bored sitting here in your chair all day, just reading and looking out that window?”
“Oh no!” she emphatically declared, with that twinkle in her eye. And then she uttered one of those bits of wisdom that we have cherished from her.
YOU’LL NEVER GET OLD AS LONG AS YOU ARE CURIOUS!
Thanks, Grannie, for passing along that gene to me! If I can be as healthy and in as good mind as you were for nearly 90 years, I’ll earnestly seek to “grow old gracefully”, which by the way was another of her oft declared bits of wise advice.
The old worn Broadman Hymnal that I take down quite often in quiet times ushers me back to significant places and bring those “Precious Memories” that one of the hymns sing about. Today the hymn I was trying to sing was one that brought back memories of a very plain classroom in a non-descript concrete block building. I don’t remember any decorations nor furnishings except the teacher’s desk, about 30 student’s desks and a blackboard. Yes, it was a BLACKboard in those days before the green “chalk board” was invented. That was 1957 and I was a freshman in Truett-McConnell Junior College (now University). Lots more than just the name has changed since those happy days.
But one ting has not changed. The stirring in my spirit when I hear and/or try to sing for myself the words of that great old hymn. I suppose we did sing it in my church growing up but it was in the first meeting of the student “Ministerial Association” that I had come to join. It turned out to be the theme song of our small club. It has been a theme of my heart from that day until this.
“O land of rest, for thee I sigh! When will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by, And dwell in peace at home?
We’ll work till Jesus comes, We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes, And we’ll be gathered home.
There are several more very meaningful verses, written by Elizabeth K. Mills back in the 1830’s. But it is the heartbeat of the chorus, that moves my soul. I do want to work in the ministry to which our Lord called and equipped me. And that’s is no credit to my account for this sentiment and determination. I have a calling, not just a ‘career’. Mine is a passion, not a profession.
Romans 11:29 declares that “…the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” If our Lord has called you to salvation, you are still as called and secure as you were the moment you received His free gift by faith in His Son. If He has called you to the Gospel ministry, you are still called. The spiritual gift He has given you for service in His church, may have become stale and cold because of neglect and disuse. But there is no indication in the New Testament that He only equips anyone for a designated, limited time. Your spiritual gift and mine has not been and never will be subject to any man-made notion of “retirement”.
I want to keep on keeping on for Jesus sake, in His service. And I want to challenge my fellow servants, let’s work till Jesus comes, and we’ll be gathered home!
I wonder if there does not come a time in every preacher’s life when he realizes that the books on his library shelves need to move? At least in my case it is move again. Some of my volumes have been boxed and crated, shipped and hauled from Georgia and Alabama, thru Pennsylvania, Oregon, Florida and now back to my native state where I began to collect this treasure. Though much of the contents of these volumes have moved into my mind and some, maybe more than I realize myself, have moved into my heart and become a very part of who I am.
These books have been my friends, my guides, my teachers, my companions, and just the sight of them here brings a sense of security and assurance and comfort to my soul. I must pause here to acknowledge a debt of gratitude for my Mother who gave me a love for reading. I am so often reminded of that part of an old verse from the poet Strickland Gillilan, (with an editorial insert added by me)
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
(but) Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.
Some of the most treasured volumes in my meager library are those which were passed on to me from older preachers. A few of them had reached the stage in life and ministry that I now face. Others volumes have come from my contemporaries who knew just what I needed and had the grace and generosity to pass them to me.
So now, it is my privileged position as a squeaky and creaky old boxcar in a train ready to deliver the cargo. But first I must complete the laborious process of sorting thru and culling out and passing on and hanging on. But what about that stack or box I will label ‘passing on’? Are there any young preachers into whose life and ministry I may invest by sharing my treasures? Who are they? Does any young preacher still read from the printed page or have all entered the electronic age of Wikipedia, Kindle, iBooks or some other poor and lifeless substitute?
I confess that this task at hand is with greatly mixed emotions. There is Thanksgiving for having possessed and used these gems and jewels; I have joy for a privilege of sharing wealth; I take comfort in knowing that I have young men coming behind me who’ll love and appreciate the nuggets of gold and diamonds of beauty hidden on some dog-eared page.
And yet there is a tear from my heart like that of saying goodbye to an old and dear friend.
The Hopeful Primitive Baptist Church was organized in 1825 on what was called the “American Frontier” – now Fayette County, Georgia. Representatives of soldiers and veterans from the American Revolution and the Army of the Confederate States of America, the government of France and many local and state dignitaries were here for the rededication ceremony of the restored old church house on May 2, 2015.
I Pledge Allegiance
REVOUTIONARY WAR SOLDIER – Col. (ret.) Bo Hill who is also commander of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans.
French volunteers were key to U S independence.
Seedling from the “Marie Antoinette Tree”, delivered by a curator of the Palace of Versailles.
April 26, 2015Circuit Ridin Preacher with Mrs. Iris Lee Jordan whose Father was a Confederate Soldier.
Commander Scott Gilbert with The Circuit Ridin Preacher, Chaplain of General Lafayette Laws Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Musket volley salute at Fayetteville Cemetery where many Confederate soldiers are buried.
Well, that’s what they used to call those fearless fighting men of the Rodeo arena. Lately they have been more accurately identified with a title befitting their guts and grit. We call them Bull Fighters!
Though they dress in a gaudy get-up and paint their faces, they are anything but clowns. Those men are daring and audacious in their chosen profession. Most of them started out by climbing on the back of 2,000 pounds of bad attitude themselves. They straddle a leather rocket, strap themselves on and nod to the gatekeeper to set the bull at liberty to attempt their assassination. If they can survive 8 seconds of terror and torture, they just might get a paycheck. But the winning ride is just the beginning. Now they have to part company with that potential killer and live to collect their pay.
And all through those 8 seconds, it is the bull fighter who is dancing around the ferocious fight close enough to get himself killed yet laying his own life on the line to save the rider. I’ve watched as a rider, tangled in his bull rope had to be cut loose from the bull. How would you like to grab a bad, bouncing bucking bull with an open pocket knife in your hand?
Now that’s a MAN! And he’s worthy to be called a hero in my book. I hope you will watch the little video clip on my Facebook page and see Frank Newsome come between a cowboy and a bull named Comfortably Numb. I don’t know what you see there but I couldn’t help but notice how Frank stayed with his job until the bull literally threw him out of the fight!
As soon as I saw that I thought of Bull Boss. . . you remember Paul’s Battle Buddy, Archippus, from my previous post? “…Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.” (Colossians 4:17)
We preachers and missionaries need to be encouraged and urged not only to do a good job – but to keep at it until we finish.