Raising the Next Generation of Disciples

I don’t like to admit that there are times I need to remind myself how lucky I am.  I shouldn’t have to remind myself of it—the circumstances of my life should serve as reminder enough.  I have an amazing wife and four beautiful daughters (and one fabulous granddaughter).  I live in a very good house and my bills are paid.  I have never gone hungry.  I am fortunate to have a great education that has afforded me many opportunities in my life.

I have been blessed to serve 14 churches in the Middle Tennessee area—8 of those on two “circuits” as a younger pastor.   I was honored to serve twenty years as a Chaplain in the Tennessee National Guard.  I now have the privilege of serving a wonderful church filled with terrific people and to serve alongside an amazing staff.

Even with all that, the news of too many days is filled with misery, horror and tragedy and I’m all too often susceptible to feeling like nothing is getting better.

Then appear the faces in my window—little faces.  My office has two windows that open up to two different play areas connected to our Children’s Center.  Both of these windows happen to be pretty much at the “ground level” from outside.  Hardly a day goes by that I don’t find myself the object of a very intense stare from a three or four year old.  They press their little faces against my windows to see who it is in there.  They never bang on the window.  They are just curious—and they are beautiful and happy and full of joy, life and hope.

These little faces are occasions of grace for me.  I nearly always stop what I’m doing to look and smile at them.  We rarely “connect” in these exchanges—it’s all they can do to shade their eyes from the sun so they CAN look inside.  But their daily appearances remind me of why I do what I do—raising the next generation of disciples is the most important thing we do.  They may be young like my buddies outside my window or they may be older and have yet to find their way to the goodness of God, but that is our task.

I’m lucky to have such a great view.  You may not be so lucky, so I suggest you “get” lucky—at least every so often, stop by a playground somewhere—maybe on your lunch break—and watch the kids, listen to their joy, and remind yourself how lucky you are.

By the way, we all have another occasion for such wondrous grace this Sunday as our children and youth will lead worship for all of us.  They need our support and I hope you will make a special effort to be in church Sunday.

PEACE

Jim