Following services this past weekend, Nancy and I headed out to see an old friend as our act of kindness this week. I have been blessed as a United Methodist Pastor who moves at the call of the Bishop to have some long term friends who are also pastors. Many years back I was blessed by Paul Gaven, John Rice and Bruce Baxter, to name a few some of you know, to be invited to join a covenant group of pastors who prayed for each, gathered to learn from each other and support one another on this journey of faith and ministry each of us were called to. The person leading the group is a United Methodist Pastor who left pastoral ministry to become a Christian Counselor and did his PHD work on family systems, churches and clergy. Dr. Tom has been a friend, mentor and guide to many persons including me. I feel a little like Paul in the New Testament because I was invited into the group after it had been going for several years. Over the years I invited some of my friends and the group to continue until Dr. Tom retired a few years ago.
We have continued to meet for a spiritual retreat once a year and it has continued to be a touch stone event for many of us, and I never miss because of what it does for my soul. Two years ago, Tom shared with the group that he had Parkinson's and was beginning to show early stage signs. Tom, like me, was a college athlete and good at any sport he wanted to play. This past summer, COVID made our event a one day, outdoor gathering. As we were leaving, Tom just in passing said, “ you haven’t retired yet like most of the others. That’s too bad I would love for you to join me but it’s a four day event and includes a weekend.” So I asked him to send me the dates and I would see if I could work it out.
So Nancy and I are headed out to see Dr. Tom before his body totally betrays him. I know I will be as blessed as he will be. This past Sunday in worship I preached on serving one another. I heard a clear call from God in Tom’s words when he wanted to share this experience with me while he still could. I also know I’m the one who will be blessed to be able to say, “Thank you for all that he has done over the years by pouring into me and my friends.” I do know that our season together is drawing to a close and I’m blessed to be able to go now.
I hope and pray that you will think about the people God has called to bless you in your life, if only for a season. Take the time to thank them, share with them what a blessing they have been to you, and let them know that you will pass the blessing on to others. That is what we say in our communion ritual that we celebrated today in worship. “As Christ has poured himself out for us in love, So we pour ourselves out in love and service to the world.” You want to transform the world. We do it one act of kindness and love at a time, as we pour ourselves out to be filled again by Christ’s love.
Blessed to Be a Blessing,