On this Thanksgiving weekend Saturday I am in Saskatoon, Saskatchwan, Canada enjoying some time of personal renewal in rest, meditation, and reflection on the huge evidence of the overwhelming goodness of God in our world. I am here, today enjoying the comforts of God’s wonderful provision in a one-bedroom newly constructed and fully furnished condo-with-a-view in one of the many beautiful sections of this City. The condo, on the top floor of the building, is just a block away from a large park area that is amply graced with walking/running pathways and a gorgeous array of trees and shrubs that shimmer with all the colours of this season. This is the natural context of my work these days with a nearby church helping it through a time of transition.
One of my thoughts related to Thanksgiving today is that I am at a wonderful place in life that enables me to enjoy God’s blessings in ways that are absolutely unique to this time in my life. It is a time of bountiful goodness in a whole host of ways. Though being more senior might have some negative connotations, the blessings of this time far out-weigh its minor difficulties and limitations. Except for a small hearing handicap, which I acquired a couple of years ago, I am and feel in reasonably good health — well able to enjoy most of the physical activities that people of average age generally enjoy. I realize this is a bit of a luxury at this time in my life since serious issues could develop at any time — and since others at my age do struggle with various maladies, some actually having been overcome by them.
As my life has begun to emerge upon these beautiful years I’ve always said that there are three main purposes that I wish to pursue. One has to do with recreation, the other with enjoying family, and the third in a sense of usefulness to others — for me particularly in the service of Christ’s kingdom work. So I feel blessed to be able to enjoy a variety of recreational pursuits including things like walking/running, hiking/biking, squash/golf, and swimming/skiing. These opportunities come in a variety of forms and degrees at this time in my life, but I always like to be up to something. These activities also include travel, visiting friends and extended family, and working on projects around our home/yard. I feel hugely blessed to engage in any of these in balance with the other two important aspects of my life. And when possible an added blessing is to do these things in a social context — with my wife and family or with good friends.
The second aspect of my life has to do with enjoying the family that God has given to me. Though I am away at work in places like this for up to half a month or more at a time, when the break comes I so look forward to spending time with Carolyn at our home, visiting with our four children and their families, or spending time with members of our extended family. I have been so blessed by the beautiful wife that God has brought into my life. It is always such a pleasure to share life together with her. Though we are different people with unique tastes and interests we know and appreciate each other deeply for the blessings of our long marriage. And at this time in our lives it is nice that we don’t have the daily responsibility for children; yet we certainly do enjoy every opportunity to be with our own children and their delightful families. I feel especially grateful for the heritage my four brothers and I share from our parents and it is always good to see or be with one another as we reflect on God’s great goodness in our lives.
But my life certainly wouldn’t be complete without the challenges and blessing of engaging with others for the sake of God’s larger kingdom work and calling. After all the years of service/employment in the church, it is so good to be able to invest the knowledge and experience accumulated over time to share meaningfully with those who are in need of help and willing to listen. It’s good to actually be profitably employed in seeking to provide some measure of expertise to churches, to younger church leaders, and to individuals who are working through crises of one kind or another. This commitment calls for continual engagement in various personal spiritual disciplines that keep me listening closely to God in my own personal life. It also calls for continuous study and research on how to the church can be more effective in what God has assigned to it. And it calls for a deep commitment to share life with people, both in the church and beyond, for whom God cares very deeply. I love this season of my life — so much like the fall season we are enjoying just now.
I realize fall is not always a very long season but it is typically very rich with sunshine and colour as well as the enjoyment of the fruits from a summer of sowing and cultivation. This is that kind of season for me and I want to make the most out of it as long as it lasts — in reflection of the glory of God — just as that also is evident in the world around us at this time of year!