Do you ever look forward and then backwards at the same event with a smile?
Yesterday I had the privilege of celebrating a milestone with family, friends, encouragers, and mentors. As I walked from one group to another, I remembered stories of their faithful love for God, diligent integrity, and care for other people.
Each of the guests has known the highs and lows of life. They have risen to challenges, swept victories under their belts, and climbed impossible mountains. They have also persevered as they suffered illness, loss, and ruin in many areas.
My folks and I talked about the wonderful people W and I know in Seattle. Many of them have accomplished more and influenced more people than I could imagine, while remaining simple, humble friends. Some are incredibly smart: we often wonder what we're doing in such a crowd. (Mind you, Einstein claimed, “I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.”)
In light of the friends who bless W and me, my mom reminded me that any gifts God has given––ease in speaking to few or many, playing piano as easily as breathing, the instinctive desire to connect people and resources, the ability to learn and write, even the enjoyment of mentoring––will never produce a sense of prideful accomplishment. Faithful stewards recognize that those things don't belong to us ... they're simply God's gifts.
Mom reinforced the attitude we have seen in our most talented friends. The ones most dear to us hold loosely their gifts and accomplishments. They lavish their lives and resources on those around them––for the glory of God. They inspire me to do the same, considering my life verse: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." (Luke 12:48b = Jesus' warning after saying a servant who did not use the talents given by the Master deserved flogging. Ouch!)
W and I read the cards and good wishes last evening with grateful hearts. Our celebration included acknowledging that God is good. He is faithful and kind. How we thank him for the many special, multi-gifted friends who enrich us day by day!
*But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Psalm 31:14-16 NIV
*The Lord executes justice for the oppressed; he gives food to the hungry. Psalm 146:7
*Jesus took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to dis-tribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. Mark 8:6
*Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11
Moravian Prayer: Dear Lord, with your love, our sighs turn to song, and through darkness we can walk toward light. Our spirits wait for you, our living Word. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.