Having been asked to speak to a group of senior
missionaries, I was thinking about what to say as I drove back from a meeting
from across the state yesterday. I am to
tell “the story of my life” in approximately 30 minutes. So where do you start in distilling 80 years
into 30 minutes? While staying with dear
friends after the meeting last evening, I was given a book that the wife had
written about her childhood that filled 280 pages! That triggered my thoughts, reminding me that
I needed to decide what I should focus upon to make my “story” meaningful and
yet fit into 30 minutes. I decided that
I could only touch a few high points but to focus on three of the most
influential people in my growth as a Christian.
Who should they be? Quickly three
came into mind. Grandparents (together I
saw them as one), a long-time friend and my greatly missed wife, Carol. Each of which continually reached out to
others and were praying for the needs of many as they strived to glorify their
Lord and Savior, Jesus.
My grandparents taught me so much about Christian character
and complete trust in the Lord. Many
weekends and most summers during my pre-teen and teen years were spent with
them on their farm which was a short distance from my parents’ home in
town. They were hard workers and
considered rather successful, but they always strived to be obedient to God and
His Word. I was especially impacted by
their consistent Bible reading after breakfast, church involvement and concern
for others that were hurting. In spite of
the potential loss of a crop, my grandfather never panicked as a storm drew
near at harvest time and neighbors were feverously working in their fields
nearly around the clock and all day Sunday.
He simply continued his church and people involvement and trusted the
Lord to provide as he did his part working diligently during six days of the
week. When he took his last breath on
earth well into his 90’s, I experienced a huge loss!
I became acquainted with a popular department head at my
university who was my teacher in a class at church while I was a student. A verse that he often quoted came from the
sayings of Agur in Proverbs 30:7-9; “Oh
God I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say
‘Who is the LORD?’ And if I am too poor,
I may steal and thus insult my God’s holy name.”
His love and character was a great influence
in this young man’s life and I was honored to serve with him on numerous boards
and committees during later years.
Do pray with me as I put my thoughts together. I pray that I might be used of the Lord to
encourage these dear folks, some of which may feel that they are of minimal
influence in their retirement years and some that are now limited in their
physical activities and dealing with considerable discomfort.