It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Now, the bad news. Tim's last day of work will be April 30th. The prospects are bleak. Many local business have hiring freezes or are laying off, unemployment is growing. Several people he worked with have been unable to find any work over the last six months. Job prospects for an older, gray haired male with specialized skills in a field that has been largely outsourced doesn't hold a lot of promise.
Now the bright side of this bad news. We're okay. Really, we're okay. We've always lived simply. While others were getting a new monster SUV's every few years, I was driving my 10 year old Saturn while Tim was driving his 20 year Toyota PU. Instead of buying a bigger house, we stayed put and focused on simplifying even more. We enjoy our home so don't go out much. During the summer, the garden, orchard and picnics in the field satisfy us. In the winter, evenings in front of the fire with popcorn and a puzzle or a good book are great entertainment. The latest clothes, electronics, or whatever the newest fad might be, doesn't hold a lot of sway over us. We enjoy the simple. Also, we've known for some time that his job wasn't secure, so we've had time to prepare for this. We're okay.
Tim's got feelers out, but they're not feeling anything. He's eligible for unemployment, and he'll keep looking. Other than that, I'm looking forward to having him at home. The girls are looking forward to having daddy at home. And this is the best time of year it could happen, if it had to happen. Tim is a outdoor, nature boy. Nothing makes him happier than to dig in the dirt, and spring is just around the corner. He's looking forward to more gardening time and working outside. I'm looking forward to morning coffee in the orchard, walks together, time to sit and just be.
In the meantime, we're crunching numbers. and seeing where we are. Our retirement has taken a big hit, just like everyone else, but we have a couple ideas. By the end of summer, if nothing has come up, I'm going to start looking. Actually, I wouldn't mind part-time work if Tim was home. He would love, and I would love, for him to have the opportunity to be the 'on-duty' parent, while I actually wouldn't mind working. It's been quite a while. I know I can't get back into the field I was in, but I'm not picky and we don't need a lot.
And if I get to feeling sorry for myself, all I need to do is read the foreclosure notices in the paper or see the tent cities on the news. We have nothing to be sorry about. I keep all the homeless, jobless people in my prayers. If we all join together, in whatever little way, we can help everyone. Maybe just an extra can of food for the foodbank, or a kind word or smile. It spreads.