“I am retiring today.”
So few words with such big meaning.
Most of us spend part of the last half of our working life saying, “I wish I could retire.” Well, ready or not, here I come.
I have been asked, “What are you going to do in retirement? You will be bored.” Maybe I will be bored, but I hope not. First, I am going to sleep really late the first week. Then we’ll see how it goes.
I am giving up a job I really love, doing what I really love to do with some of the greatest people I know. This is a hard thing to do.
I have worked in some sort of ministry for more than 25 years and I know that’s what I was supposed to be doing. I went after the jobs that I’ve had over the years, but everything always fell into place for me to get the job.
I have really fond memories of it all from working with young people in seminary just starting their lives in the ministry, to working with and getting to know wonderful Jewish people, to working in two of the best Methodist churches in Mississippi (Clinton and Tupelo). Someone once said, “It’s been a great ride but it’s not over yet.”
I don’t know what lies ahead but God does.
I hope it involves good health so I can do whatever he has in store for me. I intend to volunteer doing things that I could never do before while working. I know I am going to enjoy working in my yard more and maybe even learn more about plants. I don’t exactly have a green thumb; maybe I just need to fertilize it – my thumb that is!
I am going to enjoy being around two of the cutest kids in Mississippi, my grandchildren.
I really want to do the Grandma thing and I want my grandkids to know how much I love them.
The thing I will miss most is being around the people – all the people of FUMC: getting to see them just because they stopped by the church for a minute; visiting on the spur of the moment; hearing about their happiness; praying for our members who are sick or hurting in staff meeting every week.
But I will be here to see our church continue to grow, to see the congregation increase with enthusiastic members – and to celebrate our bicentennial.
One hundred and fifty years. Wow; that is quite an accomplishment. And to think, I got to be part of it!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Allow us to be good stewards of our talents, gifts, and time; that we may look back on the time you have given us with joy knowing that You used us for Your great plan. Amen.
Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
-Matthew 5:14-16 (NRSV)
During a summer vacation trip, my plans were to travel north on the Natchez Trace from Central Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. My goal was to arrive at Tupelo before dark. However, being a first-time driver on the Trace, I was unaware of the 50 mph speed limit that would force me to enjoy a slower and more relaxing road trip. It was a beautiful scenic drive. Darkness fell upon me about the Houston exit. It seemed as if the enjoyment of the drive was over, until something most unusual appeared in a field. My initial gasp of “What is that?” gave way to “Awesome!” Slowing down to a near stop, I rolled down my window and beheld the beauty of what appeared to be the pulsating glow of at least 100,000 fireflies. Unlike the other fields along the Trace that were dark and uninviting, this field was warm, happy, and welcoming! It was brighter than a night with a full moon. What a beautiful sight! I am grateful to God that I beheld this cloud of fireflies doing what they do so well, and that is to let their light shine in a world of darkness.
These words teach us some basic important truths about our individual walk with God and our collective walk together as the Body of Christ.
First, we are the light of the world because of the light of Christ shining in us and through us. John proclaims, “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:9 (NASB) The moment we say the Divine Yes to Jesus, we receive the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us and become light bearers for Christ. Second, the light of Christ dwelling within us should never be hidden. However, we have the choice as to whether we will let our light shine into a world of darkness. Third, Jesus wants us to let our light shine before others, so they will see our good works, and give glory to our Father in heaven. Fourth, as the collective body of Christ, we have the opportunity to let our light shine so brightly together that the world will take notice and be drawn to the True Light.
What a joy it is for us as Christians to let our light shine for Christ and unite with other Christians as his church to bring his light to a world of darkness.
Let us ask ourselves, "Am I seeking to intentionally live a life, as an individual and with others as the Body of Christ, that brings light to a world of darkness and glory to God?"
Heavenly Father, help me to let your light shine through me so that others may behold and be drawn to your glorious and beautiful light. Amen.
Let us do life together, growing closer to Jesus, and closer to each other, through stories and experiences from the people of our church. Join us as we begin a new series for the Advent season, beginning Tuesday, November 28.