The days fly past. I'm so much looking forward to taking time to write, or, at least, some "leisure" with enough spiritual energy for preaching preparation. Perhaps today, after my morning school bus route, and after I help someone out with getting food from the food shelf... perhaps today will be the day I can do that.
These days of getting up so early and then of having time chopped up by my afternoon school bus route have taught me how well "kept" I have been in my life as a pastor. For a long time I served as a denominational pastor with benefits and a salary determined by "guidelines" that were always enough for me and my family. I didn't need to think about having a second job during all those years, and it wasn't necessary for Toni to be employed more than part time. How privileged I have been!
It has been God, our Abba, who has cared for us all these years. My Father God took care of me well, so I could help Toni raise our children. Glory be to God for that. Such a privilege! Thank you Jesus!
It occurs to me this morning that as of next month I will have been in church service, more or less, for about 30 years. I wasn't officially "ordained" until 1986, but very early January of 1983, I entered that service as an intern of the former American Lutheran Church serving in Brazil. I just received a "stipend" for living expenses during those years... but still, I haven't had to be concerned about finances in a deep way even one time during all those years. How blessed I have been.
We have always had enough! At the beginning, 30 years ago as an international intern, I received very little by the standards of my country. But it was always more than enough. I even asked the church to cut my stipend at a certain time because I knew I had so much more than those I was living with there in Brazil. Then, after a couple more years of seminary, being well "kept" by Toni who worked full time way back then for a "para-church" group (Lutheran Youth Encounter), I and we moved on to full time pastoral service.
It's always been enough! Imagine that! Thirty years of sustenance the Lord has provided! And, of course, before that... my parents watching over me and making sure I was taken care of so well. And the health and strength God gave me so I could work and "provide for myself" until I finally did end up in a lasting career. How wonderful! And now, with the combination of church service through Crossroads and this bus driving job, and Toni's various positions, we're okay!
Keep me in your grace and peace, Father. Let me continue to serve you as long as I live. Thank you, Jesus, for keeping me and my family safe and well in your service. Thank you Lord!
(And now I have taken time to write and so I need to run! God has always blessed me in this way and I'm thankful for that too. I just will need to skip my morning prayer time with my North Heights friends this morning at 6:30... I'll need to be inspecting my school bus then today!)