Today is my last day as the preacher for the church of Christ in Guy, Arkansas. In all my time (seven years) I’ve never regretted the decision to be the preacher here. The people have been so good to our family, through ups and downs, periods of great growth and times when we slowed down; no matter what, the love never waned and the belief that God was working in this town through this congregation remained in tact.
God is still working in this town through this congregation and I look forward to seeing the good work that Josh Herndon will do here.
If I wanted I could write another five thousand words about my time here and my love for the people here. I’ve probably said all five thousand of them over the past few weeks though, so let’s not be redundant. Just know that I love you and pray that God continues to bless you all. As I’ve said many times over the past few weeks, I’m not saying goodbye because I’ll see you around. And on the off chance that we never meet again this side of Heaven…well I’ll see you there!
We had a great Sunday yesterday at the Guy church of Christ. I preached my final sermon and though I still have one more class to go, it certainly feels like we’ve reached a point of finality. I can’t help but reflect and consider all our happy memories over the past seven years. And that got me thinking about how it’s important for us to, as the saying goes “enjoy the moment.” Wherever we are and whatever we’re doing we should find the reasons to rejoice in them.
And as we say goodbye we’re thankful that we are taking so many wonderful friendships with us. And that makes me think about how important it is for us to live faithfully and love our neighbors because without that, you’ll have nothing to take with you when you leave.
So, enjoy the moments, because when you leave all you’ll have left are memories. Likewise love your neighbor, because when you leave, memories of you is all they’ll have too.
I made this point during the sermon last Sunday night. We were talking about “random things” and I said “if presence is the opposite of absence, and absence makes the heart grow fonder, what does presence make?”
Familiarity breeds contempt!
I was joking of course, because the fact is after seven years with the brethren at Guy I have nothing but love for you. I am “familiar” with you all, having been in your homes, by your hospital beds, sat across the fellowship table with you, preached your loved ones funerals and married away your kids. We’re familiar, but there’s no contempt here; I only have the best wishes for you!
As I said yesterday, we’re homeless. Sure, sure, we have places to stay (my parents’ farm, some brethren in Batesville), and come the first of August we’ll have our rent house secured and that will be our house for the next few years before we (Lord Willing) decide to build again.
But still…we’ve got no roof to call our own.
But that’s okay; the Lord had no permanent dwelling down here either (Luke 9:58). He wasn’t much concerned about it as well, since He knew a home with God is better than anything the world can offer. So if that was good enough for Him, it ought to be good enough for me. I’ll keep my focus on Heaven to come!
We finally closed on our house today. We are officially homeless.
Most of our stuff is at a storage facility in Greenbrier. It’s a surreal sight to see all that we have to our name all in one place, and all able to fit inside two moderately sized tin boxes. When you see it that way it makes it all seem so inconsequential.
Then again, it’s just stuff. A man’s life is not measured by the stuff he owns (Luke 12:15).
Our real possession is our soul, and we take that with us wherever we go.
As a kid I was a chronic day-dreamer. I still am. Often I’ll find myself busy working on a task one minute and then, without knowing when or how it happened, ten minutes will have passed and I’ll be off in my head dwelling on some random thing that just popped in there. The phrase “get your head out of the clouds” was spoken to me more than twice as a kid and probably needs to be said to me more than it is today as well.
On the other hand, Paul says “no, keep your head in the clouds..”
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right …
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Keep your focus on the up and up, because the world is for a people dead in their sins, and Christians are a people dead to their sins. We are dead with lives that are wrapped in the arms of Jesus. So keep your focus upward and when Jesus returns, you’ll already be looking for him.
And in the meantime, the world will see you looking up, and if you’ve ever seen someone gazing intently at something above them, you know how tempting it is to look that way too; you know how tempting it is to say to that person “Hey, whatcha looking at?” And that’s when you evangelize. That’s when you bring those souls to Jesus, help them die to sin too and then they will have their heads in the clouds with you.