Just remember everything is ‘HIS’

Published 2:22 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

James 4.14 Our lives are but a vapor
Luke 12: 18-20 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
I like gravy but I rarely eat it. Let’s be real, it’s not great for the heart and veins!
My buddy Jim Murray before he died wanted biscuits and gravy. He wasn’t worried about cholesterol. He knew he only had a couple of weeks to live.
My mother would make gravy if we had company. She would put gravy in a big bowl and make biscuits and her gravy and biscuits were awesome! We would sit around our dining room table and pass the gravy. The smell of fresh coffee, eggs, bacon and homemade jam is a pleasant aroma to me to this day. We enjoyed the gravy and time around the table but it was oh too very brief.
We live in an age of “I, me and mine.” An acquaintance of mine spends a lot of time talking about “his” property, “ is” house and everything else that “he” owns. The truth of the matter is that it really isn’t his property. It’s His property.
I understand because it feels good for all of us to own something. Home ownership is a dream come true for most people. Owning a car, clothes to wear or whatever the possession is something that humans have always enjoyed.
Over the last 20 years or more I’ve learned that we really do not own anything. We are only caretakers for a while. We are stewards or managers of life and all that is in life. Even our very lives are given to us very briefly. We don’t even own our bodies. God made us and he can take us out of here and back to the dust whenever he chooses.
Your life is on loan from God. Your mind, body and all that you are doing in life is on a lease and the lease eventually runs out. When the lease finally expires you are out — literally.
I’ve pastored a number of churches. There was a starting point and a finishing point.
I could list accomplishments for every church. In every church there were blessings and progress. There was the labor and the sheer joy that comes with pastoral service. Yet, even to great pastoral opportunities there comes an end. Whether the service is five years or 30 years, that tenure ends. We unload our books and station them appropriately in the pastor’s study. Then one day we have the grind of taking those books off the shelf and moving them elsewhere. The time comes when we move them off the last shelf. Some of those books are never read again and are eventually given away or discarded.
I look back at churches that I served. When I was 24 a little rural church I pastored averaged about 60-80 people. After I left they had a pastor every year for about 25 years. Recently, they’ve had a man that has served their church 12 years and now they are averaging about 1,000 each Sunday. They have a new three million dollar facility. I look back and think, “I got to be a small part of it. I gave it my best while I was there. The Lord blessed and He is incredibly blessing that church today. I visit occasionally and see that they now have a capable pastor who is doing a good job managing his church. However, I know the day will come when he will hand over his office keys to someone else and another pastor/servant will fill his shoes to become the shepherd of the flock.
I pastored one church that grew from 200 to about 550 to 600 in average attendance. We grew in every ministry. We built, remodeled, tore down and rebuilt. We had an extensive regional ministry. The day came when I left and now someone else cares for and enjoys that very effective ongoing ministry.
I served another church for ten years and we built and built. Our last project was 1.3 million dollars in new sanctuary costs. It’s beautiful. The church grew and it was an exciting ministry. After ten years I knew God was calling me elsewhere and now today someone else serves and enjoys the sanctuary and ministry of that church.
I’m on my second marriage. I was married just 32 days shy of 27 years to my first wife who died of multiple sclerosis. She suffered for 12 years with the disease. I wrote about it in my books, “Silent Struggler” and “Nursing Home Nightmares.” Plus there are numerous mentions of my first marriage in my other books. I look back and marvel at how quickly those 27 years went by. During that time I was a husband trying to care for a dying wife. Parent of two teenage sons and shepherd a church that was growing and had lots of needs as a congregation. That was in the past.
Karen is with the Lord. My oldest son lives in Maryland and my youngest in Washington State. That stage of life was brief. I had the opportunity to be a steward, manager, husband and father during that time period.
My mom and dad left me the old home place where I grew up. It’s old and always needs tons of work. It’s still a fun place to spend some time but I look over where the old garden use to be and see the graves of my mother and father. They were married about 68 years and lived in the old house for 63 years. Once it was theirs, now it’s mine. I realize it’s only mine for now and someday it will belong to someone else. It’s all His.
You have the gist of this by now. Nothing is permanent. Everything is temporary. We are only managers, caretakers and stewards of this life and for very briefly.
I’ve watched Newburgh Theological Seminary grow from zero to over 5,000 active students and alumni. All I know to do is say thank you God and praise Him. It really hasn’t been anything that I have done. God is the one that has blessed and given the increase. I have the joy of serving as president of the school. I know I will not be president forever. While I am president I am trying daily to do the following: Pray as though everything depends on God and secondly work as though everything depends on me. The day will come when I will observe someone else in my place either in this life or the life beyond.
Today I praise God for this day of life. I rejoice for my beautiful wife Carole. We will be married eight years in January. Together we have five kids. This is our day and our time. We have a lot of joy and are blessed. But, how long does it last?
I know it won’t last forever. Life changes. My prayer is for 30-40 more years. However, we aren’t guaranteed one more second, not even one more heartbeat.
Every minute of life God gives us is a gift. It’s a blessing. It’s gravy.
So today I’m enjoying the gravy but I know that’s it’s been passed to me as I sit at this incredible table of life.
OK, let’s go back to me, my and I. My house, my car, my computer, my shoes. It’s all from Him. It’s His house, His car, His computer and His shoes. It all comes from God and is on loan to us briefly. Someday all of His stuff will belong to someone else. That’s life.
This is not intended to sound grim or fatalistic. You see friend, life is about passing through and releasing what we hold onto so tightly onto others. It doesn’t do us any good to grapple and struggle to hold onto things.
This is not our permanent home. We are not made to live here forever but just a little while. Psalm 9012: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
(Glenn Mollette is a national syndicated columnist whose column appears in all 50 states and over 500 media outlets. He is the author of 13 books and President of Newburgh Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Ind.)

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